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Hunter v. Corizon Health Services

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

May 10, 2019

BRANDYN BRENT HUNTER, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON HEALTH SERVICES, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          SHIRLEY PADMORE MENSAH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Brandyn Brent Hunter, 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 $4.29. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Additionally, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will direct plaintiff to file an amended complaint.

         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 account balance of $21.47. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial filing fee of $4.29, which is twenty percent of plaintiff's average balance.

         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 may 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 may 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). 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 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).

         This Court must liberally construe complaints filed by laypeople. 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 layperson's claim to be considered within the proper legal framework.” Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777, 787 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004)). 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). Federal courts are not required to assume facts that are not alleged, Stone, 364 F.3d at 914-15, nor are they required to interpret procedural rules 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 brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. His complaint lists eight defendants: Corizon Health Services, the City of St. Louis Division of Corrections, Nurses Unknown Jackson and Unknown Delmastro, corrections employees J. Stevenson, Unknown Bane, Lt. Unknown White, and Unknown Reed. Plaintiff does not clearly indicate the capacity in which he sues the individual defendants.

         In setting forth his claims for relief, plaintiff provides a long narrative that describes unrelated events that occurred at unspecified times. Briefly, plaintiff alleges his complaints about a fellow inmate were inadequately addressed, Officer Stevenson used foul language and denied him access to the bathroom and then to the shower, and his wheelchair is inadequate. Plaintiff also includes a long narrative containing general complaints about the way he is being treated in the facility, asserting that his civil rights are being violated. Finally, plaintiff attached copies of letters he wrote concerning a lack of medical care, an inability to attend religious services, a denial of visitation rights, and other issues.

         Discussion

         It appears that plaintiff is attempting to advance multiple claims against multiple defendants concerning unrelated events that occurred during an unspecified period. This is an impermissible pleading practice. Rule 20(a)(2) of the Federal ...


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