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Rector v. Stamps

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division

March 23, 2018

JERRY L. RECTOR, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. RUANNE STAMPS, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Jerry L. Rector (registration no. 240082), an inmate at Moberly Correctional Center (“MCC”), for leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that the plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $34.31. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Furthermore, after reviewing the complaint, the Court will partially dismiss the complaint and will order the Clerk to issue process or cause process to be issued on the non-frivolous portions of the complaint.

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), a prisoner bringing a civil action in forma pauperis is required to pay the full amount of the filing fee. If the prisoner has insufficient funds in his or her prison account to pay the entire fee, the Court must assess and, when funds exist, collect an initial partial filing fee of 20 percent of the greater of (1) the average monthly deposits in the prisoner's account, or (2) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the prior six-month period. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner is required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The agency having custody of the prisoner will forward these monthly payments to the Clerk of Court each time the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.

         Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit and a certified copy of his prison account statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the submission of his complaint. A review of plaintiff's account indicates an average monthly deposit of $171.58. Accordingly, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $34.31, which is 20 percent of plaintiff's average monthly deposit.

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if it ''lacks an arguable basis in either law or fact.'' Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989); Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). An action is malicious if it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing the named defendants and not for the purpose of vindicating a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F.Supp. 458, 461-63 (E.D. N.C. 1987), aff'd 826 F.2d 1059 (4th Cir. 1987). A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not plead ''enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'' Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights. Plaintiff also brings claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

         Plaintiff has named Dr. Ruanne Stamps, Lisa Pogue (Asst. Deputy Warden and Americans with Disabilities (“ADA”) coordinator), Dean Minor (Warden) and Unknown Correctional Officers at MCC as defendants in this action. Plaintiff sues defendants in their individual and official capacities.

         Plaintiff asserts that he was attacked in the yard at MCC on September 8, 2017, by another inmate. Plaintiff claims that the inmate was directed to attack him in order to earn his “stripes” for the Family Values Gang at MCC, or to become a “made person.” Plaintiff states that he suffered severe damage to the side of his head, requiring two surgeries and a plate to be placed in his skull, which eventually has to be replaced due to an infection risk. Plaintiff states that he currently has to wear a helmet to protect his head as a result of the accident, and he asserts that he suffers from brain damage, memory loss, attention deficit disorder, as well as other maladies.

         Plaintiff brings am Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs with regard to the treatment of his brain injury after his surgeries with regard to Dr. Ruanne Stamps. His claims appear to relate to her refusal to provide plaintiff with proper medical care after the surgeries, as well as follow-up care and appropriate rehabilitation services. Plaintiff further asserts that despite his requests, Lisa Pogue, the ADA coordinator at the prison, has denied him medical and rehabilitative services for his brain disorder as a result of his newly acquired disability.

         Plaintiff states that the gangs at MCC require that sex offenders, like plaintiff, pay extortion money for protection from physical violence. The gangs refer to this as “pressing.” Plaintiff alleges that Warden Dean Minor is aware of the pressing that is occurring at MCC, as well as the fact that sex offenders are susceptible to attacks from the gang members, yet despite his knowledge, he has insisted on placing sex offenders in SIGMA wings in general population with the gang members. Plaintiff claims that the Warden has failed to properly train and supervise the correctional officers at MCC in protecting sex offenders from gang violence in the prison, in part, because there is a custom at the prison of allowing the gang members to exploit the sex offenders. He states generally, that the Warden has failed to hire the proper number of correctional officers to protect the sex offenders, and that he has failed to properly train and supervise the correctional officers currently on staff so that the sex offenders are properly protected from attacks. Plaintiff also appears to allege that the Warden has given tacit approval to the correctional officers, through an unofficial policy or custom, that it is okay to treat or allow others to treat the sex offenders in a violent manner.

         Plaintiff further alleges that Warden Minor has put the inmates like plaintiff at risk because MCC is currently understaffed by ...


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