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Hall v. Bilskey

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

February 15, 2019

DARIAN HALL, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN BILSKEY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JEAN C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Darian Hall, a prisoner, 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, and assess an initial partial filing fee of $14.90. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Additionally, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will dismiss plaintiff's official capacity claims against each defendant, and direct the Clerk of Court to issue process upon each defendant in his individual capacity.

         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 $74.50, and an average monthly balance of $66.22. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial filing fee of $14.90, 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. 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 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).

         “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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The court must assume the veracity of well-pleaded facts, but need not accept as true “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.” Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555); see also Brown v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, 820 F.3d 371, 372-73 (8th Cir. 2016) (stating that court must accept factual allegations in complaint as true, but “does not accept as true any legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”).

         Pro se complaints must be liberally construed. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). This means that if the essence of an allegation is discernible, the court should construe the complaint in a way that permits the plaintiff's claim to be construed within the proper legal framework. Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777, 787 (8th Cir. 2015). However, even pro se complaints 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 Complaint

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is presently incarcerated at the Jefferson City Correctional Center, but at the time of the events giving rise to the complaint, he was incarcerated at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (“ERDCC”). His complaint lists three defendants: Unknown Bilskey, Unknown Wells, and Unknown Purcell, all of whom are ERDCC correctional officers. Plaintiff sues the defendants in their official and individual capacities.

         According to the complaint, on May 1, 2018, plaintiff “felt suicidal and was on the verge of committing suicide.” (Docket No. 1 at 5). A few weeks prior to that date, plaintiff had attempted suicide by hanging. He asked to be put on suicide watch, but Bilskey replied, “I don't care, I go home in a couple minutes. I'm not stopping you from killing yourself.” Id. Bilskey then laughed and walked away. Plaintiff then told Purcell that he was suicidal, and Purcell replied, “Do what you gotta do man, ” and walked away, telling plaintiff to inform the next shift. Id. Plaintiff then told Wells he was suicidal, and Wells replied “stop that stupid shit Hall I'm busy right now.” Id.

         Plaintiff then attempted suicide by hanging, and almost died. Paramedics transported plaintiff via ambulance, and “drilled a hole” in his shin bone in order to start an IV. Id. at 5-6. He was hospitalized in the intensive care unit for approximately two days. He now has a permanent neck injury, and a leg injury. He also claims his ...


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