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Sutton v. Maddox

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

February 13, 2019

GAIL MADDOX, et al., Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Ronald Lamont Sutton for leave to commence this civil action without prepayment of the required filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that the plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.75. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Furthermore, after reviewing plaintiff's allegations, he will be required to amend his complaint on a court form.

         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.

         Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit and a certified copy of his prison account statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the submission of his complaint. A review of plaintiff's account indicates an average monthly deposit of $8.75. Accordingly, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.75, which is 20 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. To state a claim for relief under § 1983, 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, inter alia, draw upon judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 679.

         Pro se complaints are to be liberally construed. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). However, they still must allege sufficient facts to support the claims alleged. Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15 (8th Cir. 2004); see also Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282, 1286 (8th Cir. 1980) (even pro se complaints are required to allege facts which, if true, state a claim for relief as a matter of law). 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, 364 F.3d at 914-15. In addition, giving 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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff is currently an inmate at Algoa Correctional Center (“Algoa”) in Jefferson City, Missouri. He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against: Gail Maddox (Health Services Administrator at Algoa); Narendrasinh Khengar (Doctor/Medical Director at Algoa); Kelly Morriess (Warden at Algoa); Nicole Massman (Director of Nursing, Algoa); and Anne Precythe (Director of the Missouri Department of Corrections (“MDOC”)). Plaintiff sues defendants Maddox, Morriess and Massman in their individual capacities only. Plaintiff sues defendants Khengar and Precythe in both their individual and official capacities.

         Plaintiff claims that he is suffering pain in his lower and middle back. He complains that he has not been given proper care for the pain during his time at Algoa Correctional Center, Eastern Diagnostic Correctional Center (“ERDCC”) or Potosi Correctional Center (“PCC”). However, plaintiff only names defendants relative to Algoa Correctional Center, and he has not properly alleged which defendants purportedly denied him medical care at Algoa.

         For example, plaintiff generally states that he told the Director of MDOC, Anne Precythe that he was denied access to proper medical treatment. However, he does not state exactly who at Algoa, Potosi or ERDCC denied him the medical care he asked for.[1] Plaintiff further alleges that MDOC had a policy or custom of denying medical treatment of denying medical care.[2] He claims that Warden Morriess, Director Precythe and Gail Maddox failed to properly investigate his medical situation when they denied his grievance appeals relative to his disagreement with his medical care at Algoa Correctional Center.[3]

         Plaintiff asserts that Dr. Khengar, at Algoa, gave him muscle reliever rub, muscle relaxers, and pain relievers, but none of the aforementioned did enough to relieve his pain. Plaintiff believes that this states a deliberate indifference to his medical needs. Additionally, plaintiff claims that Nurse Massman was “hiding paperwork” and “messed with evidence, ” but he does not state what significance this has to his complaint. He notes only that she lied on paperwork to make “them” look good.

         Although not named as defendants in this action, plaintiff states in the body of his complaint that at ERDCC he was denied proper medical care (presumably for his back pain) by the Director of Nursing, Melissa Daniels. He claims she was “messing up paperwork, ” but like his claim above against Nurse Massman, he does not indicate what this significance has to his complaint. Plaintiff also mentions someone named “Todd, ” the Director of Medical at ERDCC, who he claims denied him medical care in December of 2016 ...

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