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Aldridge v. Hill

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

February 12, 2019

NINA HILL, Defendant.



         This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff George F. Aldridge, Jr., an inmate at the Eastern Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center (“ERDCC”) and frequent filer of lawsuits, 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 will grant the motion and assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.70. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). In addition, for the reasons explained below, the Court will direct plaintiff to file an amended complaint and will deny his motion for appointment of counsel at this time.

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)

         Pursuant 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 the prisoner's 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.

         In support of the instant motion, plaintiff submitted an inmate account statement showing an average monthly deposit of $8.50 and an average monthly balance of $4.50. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.70, which is twenty percent of plaintiff's average monthly deposit.

         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 factual 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 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs by nurse practitioner Nina Hill during his incarceration at ERDCC. Plaintiff also alleges a negligence claim under Missouri tort law and a failure to accommodate claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). He brings suit against Hill in both her individual and official capacities.

         According to plaintiff, on September 4, 2018, he was ordered by this Court, the Honorable Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., to remove some facts and defendants from a separate, related suit brought by plaintiff, if he wanted to avoid dismissal of some claims in that suit. (Doc. 1 at 2, 13, 15); see Aldridge v. Browning, No. 1:18-CV-55 SNLJ (E.D. Mo.) (Doc. 16) (stating that “[i]f plaintiff sues more than one defendant, he may only include claims that are related to each other.”). As a result, plaintiff did not name defendant Hill in his third amended complaint in the related suit, but instead filed this separate suit against Hill.

         Plaintiff asserts that Hill has denied him adequate medical care and has been deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs by failing “to provide [him with] adequate medical services at a level reasonably commensurate with modern medical science and of a quality acceptable when measured by prudent professional standards in the community tailored to [his] particular needs and medical conditions.” He details numerous health problems in his long complaint, including cardiovascular disease causing high blood pressure; two herniated discs causing back pain; left elbow pain requiring a sleeve; a bone spur in his left knee causing pain and requiring a brace; an enlarged prostate causing prostate and rectum bleeding; bladder incontinence causing urine leakage; chronic migraine headaches and head pain; chronic joint pain; previous eye injury causing reoccurring pain and requiring dark corrective lenses; hyperlipidemia; urinary tract infections; shooting pain and numbness in feet and lower body; ringing in ears and hearing problems; history of stroke; blackouts, dizzy spells, and blurred vision; sleep problems; loss of ability to exercise his large chest muscles; leg problems; and a need for orthotic shoes. Plaintiff specifically alleges that Hill has denied him care as to his enlarged prostate, bladder incontinence, chronic migraine headaches, stroke, chronic joint pain, use of corrective glasses, knee and elbow problems, and dizzy spells. Plaintiff also asserts that Hill “allowed the non-medical functions of prison life [to] inevitably influence the nature, timing and form of the care provided” to him. (Doc. 1 at 27.)

         According to plaintiff, Hill's failures in his medical treatment have resulted in loss of sleep, loss of full range of motion in his elbows and knees, extensive pain, a likelihood to stumble and fall, and a stroke. He fears he will die of cancer if he does not receive ...

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