United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a pretrial detainee at the St. Louis City Justice Center,
seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this
civil action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having
reviewed plaintiff's financial information, the Court
will assess an initial partial filing fee of $21.00, which is
twenty percent of plaintiff's average monthly deposits.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). Furthermore, for the
reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss the complaint
Partial Filing Fee
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.
states in his Application to Proceed without Prepaying Fees
or Costs that he has no income, no savings, and no property.
ECF No. 3. However, the itemized inmate account statement
that he filed on March 1, 2019, indicates average monthly
deposits of $105 over the most recent six-month period. ECF
No. 5. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial
filing fee of $21.00, which is twenty percent of
plaintiff's average monthly deposits.
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, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. To state a claim
for relief, 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
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.
Id. at 679.
reviewing a pro se complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
1915, the Court accepts the well-pled facts as true,
White v. Clark, 750 F.2d 721, 722 (8th Cir. 1984),
and liberally construes the complaint. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); 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) (refusing to supply
additional facts or to construct a legal theory for the
pro se plaintiff that assumed facts that had not
Plaintiff, a pretrial detainee at the St. Louis City Justice
Center, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Justice Center employees Courtney Tillman and Warren
Thomas. Plaintiff states that he received a violation at the
Justice Center for damaging a mattress and that the Justice
Center removed $125 from his inmate account in restitution.
However, plaintiff alleges that he did not destroy the
mattress. According to plaintiff, the mattress was already
altered when he first received it, and he notified the
officer on duty at the time. Caseworker defendant Courtney
Tillman informed plaintiff of the mattress violation on
January 18, 2019, and plaintiff responded that he wanted to
file an IRR. Plaintiff asserts that Tillman never provided
him with an IRR form but told him to write his IRR on a blank
piece of paper, which plaintiff alleges that he did
“over 9 times” but he has received no response.
Plaintiff also alleges that he wrote and talked to
Tillman's boss, Warren Thomas, and a grievance officer
Bane about the situation, but he still has received no
response. Plaintiff asserts that his “inmate
rights” and his rights under the U.S. Constitution are
being violated by “denying [him] the rights to a IRR,
mental anguish, [as] well as excessive fines.” ECF No.
1 at 5.
relief, plaintiff seeks one hundred thousand ($100, 000)
dollars for the mental anguish this has caused him, including
depression and panic attacks.
filed two letters with the Court, construed as supplements,
after the filing of his complaint. In his first letter,
plaintiff seeks to inform the Court on how staff have been
“harassing” him due to his complaint filing - but
none of his allegations involve Tillman or Thomas. ECF No. 4.
Plaintiff describes how a correctional officer Archer refused
to provide him a meal on February 6. Plaintiff states that he
filed an IRR about the missed-meal incident. Plaintiff also
complains that being moved to a new wing “put his life
in danger.” However, for relief in his supplement,
plaintiff states that he is not asking to be moved but that
he “just don't want to deal with handcuffs and
shackle all day that is uncomfortable” and that he
“[j]ust wanted to let someone know what I was gone
through in here.” ECF No. 4 at 2. In his second
supplement, plaintiff seeks to add two names to his
“enemy” list and he provides an inmate account
statement. ECF No. 5.
complaint alleges two main claims: an unfair prison violation
resulting in a loss of $125, and a denial of his right to
file an IRR and use the grievance process generally. He names
two Justice Center employees in his complaint, Tillman and
Thomas, and he sues both in their official capacities only.
For the following reasons, plaintiff's complaint will be