United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MICHAEL E. COX, Plaintiff,
JOHN JORDAN, et al, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Michael
E. Cox 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 has determined to grant the motion. In addition,
for the reasons discussed below, the Court will direct the
Clerk of Court to issue process upon the complaint.
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)
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
his 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.
support of the instant motion, plaintiff submitted an inmate
account statement showing an average monthly balance and an
average monthly deposit of $0, and an outstanding debt of
$93.00. The Court will therefore not assess an initial
partial filing fee at this time.
Standard on Initial Review
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).
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.
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).
is a pretrial detainee at the Cape Girardeau County Jail. He
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Sheriff John Jordan, Nurse Charlotte Unknown, and Dr. Unknown
Pruitt. He states he sues the defendants in an official and
to the complaint, plaintiffs psychiatrist has prescribed
Thorazine, Lunesta, Xanax, and Ability, which plaintiff was
taking before his incarceration. Plaintiff has not been given
his medication while incarcerated, and as a result is getting
"sick" and hearing voices telling him to "kill
people and do crazy stuff." (Docket No. 1 at 4-5).
Plaintiff also has a history of suicide attempts. He has
written several requests to Nurse Charlotte and Dr. Pruitt
about restarting his medication, but is told: "we are
not starting your meds back, you can get them when you get
back out on the streets." Id. at 5. He is not
being permitted to see a doctor. He has written to defendant
Sheriff Jordan about the situation, "to no avail."
Id. at 4. As for the relief he seeks, plaintiff
writes: "I need my medication. Please help."
Id. at 5.
plaintiff is a pretrial detainee, his claims of inadequate
medical care are analyzed under the fourteenth amendment
rather than the eighth amendment. Stickley v. Byrd,703 F.3d 421, 423 (8th Cir. 2013). However, because the
fourteenth amendment affords pretrial detainees "at
least as great protection" as that given to convicts
under the eighth amendment, courts apply the identical
standard as that applied to claims of inadequate medical care
brought by convicts. Crow v. ...