United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CHARLES A. SHAW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff
Kristina Marie Mitchell for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis in this civil action. Upon consideration of the
financial information provided with the application, the
Court finds that plaintiff is financially unable to pay any
portion of the filing fee. The motion will therefore be
granted. In addition, the Court will direct the Clerk of
Court to issue process upon the complaint as to defendant
Derek Machens in his individual capacity, and will dismiss
all other defendants from this action.
Standard on Initial Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), 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 under
§ 1983, 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,
inter alia, draw upon judicial experience and common
sense. Id. at 679.
se complaints are to be liberally construed. Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). However, they still
must allege sufficient facts to support the claims alleged.
Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15 (8th Cir.
2004); see also Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282,
1286 (8th Cir. 1980) (even pro se complaints are
required to allege facts which, if true, state a claim for
relief as a matter of law). Federal courts are not required
to “assume facts that are not alleged, just because an
additional factual allegation would have formed a stronger
complaint.” Stone, 364 F.3d at 914-15. In
addition, giving a pro se complaint the benefit of a
liberal construction does not mean that procedural rules in
ordinary civil litigation must be interpreted so as to excuse
mistakes by those who proceed without counsel. See McNeil
v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993).
to the complaint, on January 13, 2014, St. Louis County
officials seized twenty-two cats from plaintiff's motel
room. The cats were taken to the St. Louis County Animal Care
and Control Shelter (“Shelter”).
alleges that defendant Machens, a police officer, came to her
motel room door and, when she opened it, forcefully pulled
her out, sending her and her shoes flying. He then
“bashed [plaintiff's] head into a concrete brick
wall twice.” (Doc. 1 at 10). Plaintiff suffered
permanent eye damage. Machens then threw plaintiff to the
ground, stood on top of her, pinned her arms, handcuffed her,
and forced her to walk shoeless on broken concrete to
defendant Justin Jones's police cruiser. Machens also
forced plaintiff to stand outside, without shoes or a jacket,
for more than fifteen minutes in the cold winter air.
states “[a] female police officer named Samantha Crespo
also participated in this deplorable behavior” and
“also was an investigator on this.” Id.
January 28, 2014, Machens applied for a search warrant that
listed the room number of the motel where plaintiff and her
mother had kept the cats, and sought a warrant impounding the
cats because they were neglected and abused. In re
Mitchell, Case No. 14SL-MC01127 (21st Jud. Cir. Jan. 28,
2014). On February 27, 2014, the Court ruled that
the cats were lawfully impounded and entered judgment against
plaintiff, and specifically:
After considering the evidence and the argument, the Court
finds that the animals described in attached Exhibit 1 were
lawfully impounded on January 28, 2014 [sic] under a valid
warrant and under the authority of RSMo. 578.018.1. The Court
further finds that all the requirements of RSMo. 578.018 have
been satisfied, and that said impounded animals were abused
and neglected as defined by Missouri statutes RSMo. 578.012
“Exhibit 1” referenced in the Court's
Judgment and Order is a letter from defendant Dr. Stephanie
Nelson, a veterinarian with St. Louis County Animal Care and
Control, describing each of the cats' sicknesses. Dr.
Nelson wrote: “If the cats had been taken to a
veterinarian, they could have been easily diagnosed and
treated. The illnesses that these cats have were exacerbated
by the living conditions and amount of cats. Based on the
exam and my professional opinion the cats have been abused
and neglected.” Id.
alleges that Machens “committed perjury at least 4-5
times” when deposed about the circumstances involving
the seizure of the cats. (Doc. 1 at 11). She also alleges
that defendant Dr. Nelson committed perjury by stating that
the cats had herpes in an attempt to have them euthanized.
She also ...