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Brooks v. Cape Girardeau County

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

July 17, 2018

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, et al., Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Keith Taylor Brooks, a prisoner, for leave to commence this action without prepayment of the filing fee. Having reviewed plaintiff's financial information, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.00.[1] In addition, the Court will allow plaintiff the opportunity to submit an amended complaint.

         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. A pleading that offers “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do, ” nor will a complaint suffice if it tenders bare assertions devoid of “further factual enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         When conducting initial review pursuant to § 1915(e)(2), the Court must accept as true the allegations in the complaint, and must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, the tenet that a court must accept the allegations as true does not apply to legal conclusions, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, and affording 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). Even pro se complaints are required to 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); see also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15 (8th Cir. 2004) (federal courts are not required to “assume facts that are not alleged, just because an additional factual allegation would have formed a stronger complaint”).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff brings this action to redress violations of his civil rights, and names Cape Girardeau County as a defendant in this action. Plaintiff names eleven additional individuals as defendants in this action, including: John Jordan (Sheriff); Unknown Davis (Lieutenant); James Mulcahy (Captain); Ruth Ann Dickerson (Captain); R. Williams (Correctional Officer); A. Surface (Correctional Officer); Unknown Stewart (Correctional Officer); A. Boliva (Correctional Officer); and Unknown Cato (Correctional Officer).

         Plaintiff alleges that he was admitted to the Cape Girardeau County Jail as an inmate on or about April 6, 2018. He claims that when he was admitted to the Jail he was given a dirty pair of pants and a dirty shirt by Correctional Officer Surface.[2] Plaintiff states that he asked for “clean” clothes, noting that there was a pile of clothes behind the Officer that seemed to be available for use at intake. Plaintiff alleges, however, that Correctional Officer Surface denied him the use of the “clean” clothes. Plaintiff further alleges that he was not given any “hygiene” items at intake. Plaintiff does not indicate exactly what “hygiene” items he was not provided by the Jail, nor does he indicate what hygiene items he was expected to buy from the Commissary.

         Plaintiff claims that he has had to wear the dirty clothes for approximately two months. He claims that he got genital herpes from the dirty clothes, although he has not indicated that he saw a doctor at the Jail for such a diagnosis. He merely states that an unnamed nurse he saw didn't “look at it” and he was told to “put in a request form if he did have it.”

         He additionally states that his clothes smelled and other inmates laughed at him as a result of the dirty clothing he was given at intake.

         Plaintiff states that he believes his legal mail was opened by the Jail sometime between June 7, 2018 and June 12, 2018. Plaintiff asserts that “no officers will answer [his] requests for names” of who allegedly opened the mail.

         Plaintiff claims that grievances he allegedly wrote about incidents at the Jail have been thrown away. Plaintiff, however, does not indicate what he wrote the grievances about or who allegedly threw the grievances away.

         Plaintiff alleges that he informed Correctional Officer Williams at the Jail on April 6, 2018 that he was Jewish and required kosher meals. He asserts that he has been denied kosher meals at the Jail and as a result he has lost weight. However, he also states that when he asked why he was being denied kosher meals he was told that all of the meals at the Jail were kosher and ok for him to eat.

         Last, plaintiff asserts in a conclusory fashion that “Co's do not keep inmates safe as ...

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