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Anderson v. Godert

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

April 19, 2018

LAUTHA V. ANDERSON, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
CHANTAY GODERT, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          AUDREY G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDJE

         Plaintiff, a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed without payment of the required filing fee in this civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed plaintiff's financial information, the Court assesses a partial initial filing fee of $15.82, which is twenty percent of his average monthly deposit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). Furthermore, after reviewing the amended complaint, the Court will partially dismiss the amended complaint and will order the Clerk to issue process or cause process to be issued on the non-frivolous portions of the amended complaint.

         Standard of Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. To state a claim for relief, a complaint must plead more than “legal conclusions” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 679. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 678. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 679.

         When reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court accepts the well-pled facts as true. Furthermore, the Court liberally construes the allegations.

         The Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff, an inmate at Northeast Correctional Center (“NECC”), brings this § 1983 action against five individual officials at NECC and the Missouri Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) alleging constitutional violations arising out of his transfer from NECC's segregation unit to the general population. Plaintiff brings the claims against the individual defendants in both their official and individual capacities.

         On November 18, 2016, plaintiff states he was under investigation for two charges of conspiracy to introduce narcotics into a correctional center. Because of this investigation, plaintiff had been assigned to the administrative segregation unit at NECC. He states his life was in danger in the general population because a rumor had spread among the inmates, specifically the Family Value gang at NECC, that plaintiff was snitching to try to get out of his two conspiracy charges.

         Plaintiff states that on November 18, defendant Sergeant Rubino told plaintiff that he had been ordered to be removed from NECC's segregation unit and placed back into the general population. Plaintiff attaches to his amended complaint the classification hearing form dated November 18, 2016, which recommended assigning plaintiff to the general population. The committee members of the hearing, each of whom signed the recommendation, were the following defendants: Robert Henderson (Committee Chair); Taylor Preston (Committee Member); Jeremy Hansen (Committee Member); and Chantay Godert (Superintendent).

         Sergeant Rubino told plaintiff that if he refused to go to the general population, physical force would be used against him and he would incur another conduct violation. Plaintiff explained to Rubino that she was making a mistake and deliberately placing plaintiff in a life threatening situation. Plaintiff states he had not waived his right to protective custody, nor had he participated in the classification hearing.

         On November 20, 2016, two days after he was forced back into the general population, an inmate associated with the Family Value gang approached plaintiff, accusing him of snitching. As plaintiff walked to dinner, this inmate slit plaintiff's throat. According to plaintiff,

I . . . ran back to my assigned housing unit and cell, and I looked at my neck sliced open and paining and I became even more terrified and afraid. I had never been afraid as I was then, because there was prison staff involved which made me not report the incident because I was in fear of my life and I did not know if I could trust any staff member because they were the ones who had put the rumor out that I was a snitch. So, I stayed in my cell, scared to death, anxiously waiting for them to call lock down for the night, and I tried to stop the bleeding. However, I was in great pain and my neck would not stop bleeding and so at 4:00 a.m., the next morning I alerted the prison staff about the whole situation. I then went to the prison's medical unit, wherein my neck injury was treated . . . . Thereafter, I was taken back to the prison's segregation unit, wherein a Corrections Officer #3 (Lieutenant) took pictures of my neck injury.

         On November 28, 2016, plaintiff was placed back in the segregation unit. The MDOC form approving his transfer back to segregation states plaintiff was “released from ...


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