United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
FOREST CONAN KINGCADE and INMATES OF THE DUNKLIN COUNTY JAIL, Plaintiffs,
BOB HOLDER, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon the application of plaintiff
Forest Conan Kingcade, formerly an inmate at the Dunklin
County Jail, to proceed in the district court without
prepaying fees. Based on plaintiff's financial
information, the Court finds that he does not have sufficient
funds to pay the filing fee. The Court will grant
plaintiff's application to proceed in the district court
without prepaying fees. 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 on Initial Review
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.
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.
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on behalf of
himself and all other inmates at the Dunklin County Jail from
2010 to 2018, alleging the conditions of the jail violated
their Eighth Amendment rights to be free of cruel and unusual
punishment. Plaintiff states that on June 24, 2018, he was an
inmate at the Dunklin County Jail and had to sleep with four
other inmates in a 5 foot by 10 foot cell on a mat.
“[W]hen another inmate got up to use the toilet and his
urine splash[ed] on me, I suffer[ed] mental pain from
this.” Plaintiff also complains that the cells did not
have emergency panic buttons, and that he discovered mold in
the showers and on the food trays.
injuries, plaintiff states “pain and suffering and
mental anguish.” He seeks punitive damages of $70
initial matter, a pro se plaintiff can bring his own claims
to federal court without counsel, but not the claims of
others. See 28 U.S.C. § 1654 (pro se parties
may only bring actions on their own behalf); see
also 7A Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and
Procedure: Civil 3d § 1769.1 (“class
representatives cannot appear pro se.”). Plaintiff may
only proceed on claims that refer to his own constitutional
injuries, not on the constitutional injuries of other inmates
at the Dunklin County Jail.
plaintiff's individual claims, the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (“PLRA”) provides, “No Federal
civil action may be brought by a prisoner confined in a jail,
prison, or other correctional facility, for mental or
emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior
showing of physical injury or the commission of a sexual
act.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e); see also
McAdoo v. Martin, 899 F.3d 521, 525 (8th Cir. 2018)
(“We interpret the PLRA to require more than a de
minimis physical injury.”). Plaintiff has claimed no
physical injury arising out of the alleged violations of his
constitutional rights. He seeks relief only for his
“pain and suffering and mental anguish.” The PLRA
bars recovery of compensatory damages in this action.
extent plaintiff might be allowed to seek punitive damages
without a showing of physical injury under the PLRA, see
Royal v. Kautzky, 375 F.3d 720, 724 (8th Cir. 2004),
plaintiff's complaint still fails as a matter of law.
Plaintiff names as the only defendant Bob Holder, who
plaintiff states is the “Sheriff and Owner of the
[Dunklin County Jail].” But plaintiff has not alleged
defendant Holder was directly involved in or personally
responsible for any violations of plaintiff's
constitutional rights. See Keeper v. King, 130 F.3d
1309, 1314 (8th Cir. 1997) (noting that general
responsibility for supervising operations of prison is
insufficient to establish personal involvement required to
support liability under § 1983). Nor has plaintiff
alleged defendant Holder's conduct was “motivated
by evil motive or intent, or . . . involves reckless or
callous indifference to [plaintiff's] federally protected
rights, ” which is a threshold requirement for awarding
punitive damages. See Royal, 375 F.3d at 724.
Plaintiff's only allegations of constitutional violations
are that he was housed in an overcrowded cell on the night of
June 24, 2018, urine splashed on him when another inmate used
the toilet, there was no panic button in the cell, and he saw
mold in the showers and on food trays. Plaintiff does not
allege any direct involvement or personal responsibility of
defendant Holder, and does not allege defendant Holder acted
with any motive that would support a punitive damage award.
these reasons, the Court will dismiss plaintiffs complaint as
frivolous on initial review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion
to proceed in forma ...