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Taylor v. Hoven

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

May 8, 2018

COREY D. TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID L. HOVEN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RONNIE L. WHITE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Corey D. Taylor for leave to commence this civil action without prepayment of the required filing fee. Having reviewed the motion and the financial information submitted in support, the Court will grant the motion, and assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.00. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). In addition, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will dismiss the complaint, without prejudice

         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 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 $10.00, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.

         Plaintiff has not submitted a prison account statement. As a result, the Court will require plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $1.00. See Henderson v. Norris, 129 F.3d 481, 484 (8th Cir. 1997) (when a prisoner is unable to provide the Court with a certified copy of his prison account statement, the Court should assess an amount "that is reasonable, based on whatever information the court has about the prisoner's finances"). If plaintiff is unable to pay the initial partial filing fee, he must submit a copy of his prison account statement in support of his claim.

         Legal Standard on Initial Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if it 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). 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). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted 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).

         To determine whether an action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must engage in a two-step inquiry. First, the Court must identify the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). These include "legal conclusions" and "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements." Id. at 678. Second, the Court must determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 679. This is a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id.

         The plaintiff is required to plead facts that show more than the "mere possibility of misconduct." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. The Court must review the factual allegations in the complaint "to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief." Id. at 681. When faced with alternative explanations for the alleged misconduct, the Court may exercise its judgment in determining whether plaintiffs proffered conclusion is the most plausible or whether it is more likely that no misconduct occurred. Id. at 680-82.

         Pro se complaints are to be liberally construed, Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976), but they still must allege facts which, if true, state a claim for relief as a matter of law. Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282, 1286 (8th Cir. 1980). The Court must weigh all factual allegations in favor of the plaintiff, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992). 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 v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15 (8th Cir. 2004).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff is an inmate at the Franklin County Adult Detention Facility, in Union, Missouri. He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 against Judge David L. Hoven and the Sullivan, Missouri Police Department. Plaintiff is suing Judge Hoven in his individual and official capacity, and he is suing the Sullivan Police Department in its official capacity.

         According to the complaint, plaintiff suffered violations of his civil rights, his Fourth and Fifteenth Amendment Rights, his "equal rights", and his right to be free from discrimination. (Docket No. 1 at 3). Plaintiff lists these alleged violations in a narrative fashion. In the complaint, plaintiff alleges that on November 1, 2017, he was racially profiled by an off-duty officer of the Sullivan Police Department. (Docket No. 1 at 4). Plaintiff alleges that this officer "contacted an officer that was working to [r]un my [p]lates which later led to my arrest, " and that this was done without probable cause. Id. Further, plaintiff claims that the Sullivan Police Department was negligent about the property and money that was inside his car. Id. He also claims that a Sullivan Police Officer contradicted his "Narrative Report" while testifying at the preliminary hearing. (Docket No. 1 at 4-5).

         Next, plaintiff accuses Judge Hoven of being biased in his ruling when he determined the existence of probable cause in plaintiffs case. (Docket No. 1 at 5). He also states that he was in the Franklin County Jail for three-and-a-half months, and that during his time in jail, he appeared before Judge Hoven without legal representation. Id. He further claims that Judge Hoven ...


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