United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Thomas
Brown for leave to commence this civil action without
prepayment of the required filing fee. (Docket No. 2). Having
reviewed the motion, the Court has determined that plaintiff
lacks sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee, and will
assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.00. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Additionally, for the reasons
discussed below, the Court will direct plaintiff to file an
amended complaint on a Court-provided form.
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)
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.
has not submitted a prison account statement. As a result,
the Court will require plaintiff to pay an initial partial
filing fee of $1.00. See Henderson v. Norris, 129
F.3d 481, 484 (8th Cir. 1997) (when a prisoner is unable to
provide the Court with a certified copy of his prison account
statement, the Court should assess an amount "that is
reasonable, based on whatever information the court has about
the prisoner's finances"). If plaintiff is unable to
pay the initial partial filing fee, he must submit a copy of
his prison account statement in support of his claim.
Standard on Initial Review
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
(8* 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
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 plaintiffs 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 (8*
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 (8* 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).
is currently incarcerated at the Eastern Reception,
Diagnostic & Correctional Center (ERDCC) in Bonne Terre,
Missouri. He brings this civil rights complaint pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docket No. 1 at 3). He names the
following individuals as defendants: Warden Steve Larkins;
Assistant Warden Stanley Paine; Medical Director Chris Rosko;
Unknown Correctional Officers; Unknown Doctors; and Unknown
Nurses. (Docket No. 1 at 3-4). All defendants are sued in
both their individual and official capacities. (Docket No. 1
states that during the "booking process" upon
entering ERDCC, he filled out a medical evaluation in which
he noted that his medications were Wellbutrin and Trazadone.
(Docket No. 1 at 4-5). These medications had been prescribed
by plaintiffs doctor at Ozark Behavioral Health in West
Plains, Missouri. (Docket No. 1 at 5). Plaintiff states that
he was advised that "they would have to get ahold of my
doctor" before he was given those medications. After the
medical evaluation, plaintiff states that he had a mental
health screening. During this screening, he again noted that
he took Wellbutrin and Trazadone for his major depressive
disorder, PTSD, ADD, and ADHD. Plaintiff asserts that
"they wrote it down and said they would call" his
doctor at Ozark Behavioral Health.
states that he filled out a medical service request because
"they" refused to give him his mental health
medications. (Docket No. 1 at 6). When he was seen, he
alleges that he was told that his doctor at Ozark Behavioral
Health did not exist. Plaintiff was also advised that if he
really needed Wellbutrin and Trazadone, "their
doctors" would give it to him.
plaintiff saw a doctor and a mental health doctor at ERDCC.
They both agreed that plaintiff had major depressive
disorder, PTSD, ADD, and ADHD. Plaintiff claims that he asked
the doctors if he could start taking his medication, and both
of them told him that ERDCC "does not give out those
[two] medications" to inmates. Plaintiff then asked
whether he could get a generic medication, and was told by
the doctors that they would get back to him later. He states
that the doctors still have not gotten back to him. He also
claims that he has learned from other ERDCC inmates that
those medications are given out.
alleges that defendants Larkins, Paine, and Rosko had a
"custom of denying" his mental health medications.
He also claims that defendants engaged in a civil conspiracy
under both Missouri law and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to deprive
him of access to his medications, and that they committed the
"tort of breach of duty." (Docket No. 1 at 7).
Finally, plaintiff ...