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Cutts v. Missouri Family Supp. Div.

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

July 16, 2018

JOHN CUTTS, Plaintiff,
v.
MISSOURI FAMILY SUPP. DIV., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JEAN C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action, wherein plaintiff alleges that his civil rights have been violated. After review of the financial information provided, the Court will grant plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court finds that the complaint should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         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.

         Discussion

         Plaintiff, John Cutts, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging a violation of his civil rights. Plaintiff has named as defendants in this action are St. Louis County, Missouri and the Missouri Family Support Division.

         Plaintiff claims that his due process rights were violated relating to his probation requirements as to his criminal conviction in St. Louis County Court for failing to make child support payments. In this action, he claims disagreements with the way his five-year probation sentence has been carried out by St. Louis County Court, seeming to infer that some of the requirements by the probation officer assigned to him, Ray Morales, as well as the prosecutor and the Judge, have been arbitrary and capricious.[1]

         Plaintiff asserts that he has remained in compliance with the terms of his state court probation. However, he states that prior to the end date of his probation, the prosecutor and Judge worked together to extend his probation based on what he perceives to be a misunderstanding that he had failed to properly pay all of his ongoing his child support payments.[2] Plaintiff claims that the extension of the probation resulted in lost job opportunities, embarrassment, and a violation of his due process rights. Plaintiff asserts that the Family Court prosecuting attorney attempted to have him revoked from his probation even after he had paid his full child support arrears and when his probation had been discharged. He claims that in response, he filed a petition for writ of prohibition with the Missouri Court of Appeals who ordered the Missouri Circuit Court to file a response to the writ of prohibition. Plaintiff claims that instead of filing a response the Circuit Court canceled the revocation hearing and discharged him from probation.

         Plaintiff seeks monetary damages in an amount of $625, 000 in this action against the Missouri .

         Discussion

         Plaintiff asserts that the Missouri Family Support Division acted in an unconstitutional manner to extend his probation by failing to properly calculate his child support. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages as a result of what he believes to be a “due process violation” perpetuated against him by the State of Missouri.

         The Eleventh Amendment bars a citizen from bringing suit in federal court against a state, a state agency, or a state official sued in his official capacity for monetary damages which must be paid from public funds in the state treasury. Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989). Only two exceptions exist to Eleventh Amendment immunity: (1) “where Congress has statutorily abrogated such immunity by ‘clear and unmistakable language, '” or (2) where a state has waived its immunity to suit in federal court, but “only where stated by the most express language or by such overwhelming implications from the text as will leave no room for any other reasonable construction.” Barnes v. State of Missouri, 960 F.2d 63, 65 (8th Cir. 1992) (citing Welch v. Texas Dep't of Highways & Pub. Transp., 483 U.S. 468, 473-74 (1987)).

         There is no indication that the State of Missouri has waived its immunity from suit in this instance. Moreover, the state is not a “person” capable of being sued under § 1983. See Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989). Thus, plaintiff's ...


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