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Fondren v. Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center

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

March 21, 2019




         This matter comes before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Corey Fondren for leave to commence this civil action without prepayment of the required filing fee. (Docket No. 3). Having reviewed the motion and the financial information submitted in support, the Court has determined that plaintiff lacks sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee, and will not assess an initial partial filing fee at this time. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4). Additionally, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will dismiss plaintiff's complaint without prejudice. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         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 or her 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 the Court each time the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.

         Plaintiff has not submitted a prison account statement and states that his institution does not provide such statements. (Docket No. 7). His motion states that he receives no income and has no funds in a checking or savings account. (Docket No. 3). As a result, the Court will not require plaintiff to file an initial partial filing fee at this time. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4) (stating that a prisoner shall not be prohibited from bringing a civil action for the reason the prisoner has “no means by which to pay the initial partial filing fee”).

         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 under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). “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 upon judicial experience and common sense. Id. at 679. The court must “accept as true the facts alleged, but not legal conclusions or threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.” Barton v. Taber, 820 F.3d 958, 964 (8th Cir. 2016). 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 is not required to “accept as true any legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation”).

         When reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2), the Court must give it the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A “liberal construction” means that if the essence of an allegation is discernible, the district court should construe the plaintiff's complaint in a way that permits his or her claim to be considered within the proper legal framework. Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777, 787 (8th Cir. 2015). However, 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) (stating that federal courts are not required to “assume facts that are not alleged, just because an additional factual allegation would have formed a stronger complaint”). In addition, 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. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center (MSLPC). (Docket No. 1 at 2). He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming the MSLPC and Edward Worman as defendants. The defendants are sued in both their official and individual capacities. The complaint consists of a Court-provided § 1983 form, along with a number of exhibits consisting of court orders, a charging sheet, additional allegations, and excerpts from police reports. These exhibits will be treated as part of the pleading. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c) (“A copy of a written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is part of the pleading for all purposes”).

         On June 3, 2017, plaintiff states that he was wrongfully arrested at 15313 Jost Main Street in Florissant, Missouri. (Docket No. 1 at 5). During his arrest, plaintiff alleges that he was assaulted by the police officers. (Docket No. 8 at 11). The Court notes that these allegations are the subject of a separate lawsuit, Fondren v. White, No. 4:18-cv-01102-JCH (E.D. Mo.). As a result of this incident, plaintiff states that he was falsely imprisoned for over a year at the St. Louis Justice Center.

         At present, plaintiff claims he is being held at MSLPC “against [his] civil rights.” (Docket No. 1 at 6). He states that MSLPC has told him he is incompetent to enter into a plea in court for his alleged crimes. He further states that the crimes “they say” he committed are not on the surveillance footage referenced in the police reports.

         Plaintiff asserts that as a result of his confinement in MSLPC, he is suffering more false imprisonment. He alleges that MSLPC is not looking at all the evidence in saying that he is incompetent.

         Plaintiff further accuses his public defender, Edward Worman, of failing to look at the DVD evidence provided to him ...

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