United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff
Richard Matthew Trice, an inmate at the Butler County Jail,
for leave to commence this action without payment of the
required filing fee. Having reviewed plaintiff's
financial information, the Court assesses a partial initial
filing fee of $48.35, which is twenty percent of his average
monthly deposit. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b).
Furthermore, after reviewing the complaint, the Court will
partially dismiss the complaint and will order the Clerk to
issue process or cause process to be issued on the
non-frivolous portions of the complaint.
Standard on Initial Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), 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 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 complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the
Court accepts the well-pled facts as true. Furthermore, the
Court liberally construes the allegations.
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging
defendant Eli Rodgers violated plaintiff's constitutional
rights by using excessive force and defendant Tom Wilkinson
was deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's serious
medical needs. Plaintiff states that in mid-March 2018,
correctional officer Eli Rodgers opened the door to
plaintiff's cell, grabbed him, and cuffed him to a
restraint chair so securely that the handcuffs cut his wrist.
Rodgers proceeded to strike plaintiff twice in the stomach
and choke him. During the choking Rodgers said to plaintiff,
“You Trices are nothing.” Following the incident
with Rodgers, plaintiff alleges he sought blood thinner and
medical treatment for his cuts and bruises. A nurse called
defendant Tom Wilkinson, who is on the Butler County Jail
medical staff. The nurse told plaintiff that Wilkinson said
plaintiff could “wait until Monday.” Plaintiff
states he suffered cuts on his wrists, bruises on his stomach
and neck, and headaches following the assault.
relief, plaintiff seeks damages for pain and suffering in the
amount of $1 million. He also asks for each state employee
involved to be relieved of their duties and criminal charges
brought against them.
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects pretrial
detainees from “the use of excessive force that amounts
to punishment.” Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135
S.Ct. 2466, 2473 (2015). In order to prevail on an excessive
force claim, plaintiff must show that a defendant purposely
or knowingly used objectively unreasonable force.
Id. “Whether the application of force was
unreasonable turns on the facts and circumstances of each
particular case.” Ryan v. Armstrong, 850 F.3d
419, 427 (8th Cir. 2017) (quoting Kingsley, 135
S.Ct. at 2473). “Factors relevant to assessing the
objective reasonableness of force used by officers include:
the relationship between the need for the use of force and
the amount of force used; the extent of the plaintiff's
injury; any effort made by the officer to temper or limit the
amount of force; the severity of the security problem at
issue; the threat reasonably perceived by the officer; and
whether the plaintiff was actively resisting.”
states defendant Rodgers took him out of his cell, cuffed him
to a restraint chair, punched and choked him, and used
derogatory language. Liberally construed, the Court finds the
plaintiff has stated a plausible claim of excessive force
against defendant Rodgers. The Court will order the Clerk to
issue process on defendant Rodgers.
plaintiff's claims for failure to provide medical
treatment, however, the Court finds plaintiff has not stated
a plausible claim. To state a claim for medical mistreatment,
plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to indicate a
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Camberos v.
Branstad, 73 F.3d 174, 175 (8th Cir. 1995). Allegations
of mere negligence in giving or failing to supply medical
treatment will not suffice. Estelle, 429 U.S. at
106. In order to show deliberate indifference, plaintiff must
allege that he suffered objectively serious medical needs and
that defendants actually knew of but deliberately disregarded
those needs. Dulany v. Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 1239
(8th Cir. 1997). Furthermore, “[b]ecause a § 1983
action is a type of tort claim, general principles of tort
law require that a plaintiff suffer some actual injury before
he can receive compensation.” Irving v.
Dormire, 519 F.3d 441, 448 (8th Cir. 2008).
alleges he was arrested on a weekend, and told officers at
the jail that he needed his blood thinner medication. A nurse
called defendant Wilkinson, and Wilkinson said “wait
until Monday.” Also, and it is unclear whether this was
on the same date as his arrest, plaintiff alleges he was
assaulted by defendant Rodgers on a weekend and was denied
medical attention. He suffered bruises and a cut on his wrist
for which he was given a bandage.
as to plaintiff's allegation regarding his blood thinner
medication, assuming plaintiff could state facts to establish
a serious medical need for this medication, plaintiff has not
alleged he suffered any injury arising out of Wilkinson's
decision to wait one or two days (until Monday) to provide
the medication. As stated above, a § 1983 action
requires that a plaintiff suffer some actual injury before he
can receive compensation. See Irving, ...