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Coleman v. Mississippi County Workers

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

July 16, 2018




         This matter is before the Court upon review of the third amended complaint filed by plaintiff Larico Coleman. For the reasons explained below, this case will be dismissed, without prejudice.

         Legal Standard on Initial Review

         Under 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.

         Pro 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. U.S., 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993).


         Plaintiff, proceeding herein pro se and in forma pauperis, is an inmate at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center. However, the events giving rise to his claims occurred when he was incarcerated in the Mississippi County Detention Center. Plaintiff filed his first complaint in this case on August 21, 2017. Shortly thereafter, he filed two supplemental documents, and then filed an amended complaint. However, he failed to sign the amended complaint, and the Court returned it to him for his signature. Plaintiff promptly filed a second amended complaint, which he signed, and which this Court reviewed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).

         Upon review, the Court noted that the second amended complaint was subject to dismissal, and gave plaintiff the opportunity to submit a third amended complaint. In so doing, the Court clearly explained the deficiencies of the second amended complaint, and cautioned plaintiff that his failure to cure those deficiencies would result in the dismissal of his case. Plaintiff timely filed a third amended complaint, which the Court now reviews pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

         The Third Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff filed the third amended complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against ten defendants: Margrett Dykes (a nurse practitioner), Emily Brown (a nurse), corrections officers Sholanda Sinks, Nicole Sinks, and Linda Dixon, Sheriff Brandon Caid, the Mississippi County Detention Center and the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department, Jail Administrator Sally Gammons, and Barry Morgan. All of plaintiff's claims stem from the allegedly inadequate medical care he received for a foot condition. He alleges as follows.

         On approximately May 17, 2017, as Brown was passing out medications, plaintiff showed her his foot which was “decaying” and “really funky, ” and told her it was hurting. (Docket No. 15 at 5). Brown gave plaintiff Ibuprofen, and told him to use anti-fungal cream. Plaintiff alleges no further interaction with Brown.

         One or two weeks later, plaintiff's foot was swollen, and blood and pus were present. He saw Dykes for medical care, and she gave him antibiotics. Plaintiff took the antibiotics for a week, but they did not help. Plaintiff saw Dykes on three occasions, but “nothing she did helped.” Id. Plaintiff complains that Dykes “should have sent me somewhere that could help me and my condition.” Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that Gammons saw that plaintiff's foot was discolored, and that she could smell a foul odor. Plaintiff writes: “since she is the Jail Administrator, I thought I would be going to the Hospital but she said that will [cost] the Jail or County too much money.” Id. Plaintiff states that Dykes and Gammons chose to not help him because he was an inmate.

         Plaintiff alleges that Caid (the Sheriff) was “over the jail” and was told about plaintiff's foot condition by Dixon, Nicole Sinks, and Sholanda Sinks, and could have solved plaintiff's problem. (Docket No. 15 at 5, 7). Plaintiff alleges that his rights were violated by the Mississippi County Detention Center. He alleges that Morgan looked at his foot, and walked away as if he did not care. Plaintiff also claims that none of his prescriptions were sent to the Missouri Department of Corrections. Plaintiff ...

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