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Faircloth v. Corizon

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

June 24, 2019

CORIZON, et al., Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court upon the motion of pro se plaintiff Christopher W. Faircloth for leave to commence this action without prepayment of the required filing fee. Having reviewed the motion and the financial information submitted in support, the Court will grant the motion, and assess an initial partial filing fee of $22.53. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Furthermore, after reviewing the complaint, the Court will dismiss this action without prejudice.

         Initial 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 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 Court each time the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.

         In support of the instant motion, plaintiff submitted an inmate account statement showing average monthly deposits of $112.67. The Court finds that plaintiff has insufficient funds in his prison account to pay the entire fee and will therefore assess an initial partial filing fee of $22.53, which is twenty percent of plaintiff's average monthly deposit.

         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, 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.

         When 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 been pleaded).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff, an inmate at Farmington Correctional Center (“FCC”), brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his civil rights against seven defendants: (1) Corizon (contracted with Missouri Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) to provide medical services to FCC inmates); (2) J. Cofield (Director of Operations for MDOC); (3) T. Bredeman (Regional Medical Director for Corizon); (4) Karen Salsman (licensed counselor for Corizon at FCC); (5) Lisa Sanderson (social worker for Corizon at FCC); (6) Matt Strum (Division Director for MDOC); and (7) Unknown McIntyre (mental health Ttch for Corizon at FCC). Plaintiff brings his claims against all defendants in both their individual and official capacities.

         Plaintiff alleges that defendants are violating his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process by denying him access, and a copy of, his mental health records. In September of 2018, defendant McIntyre denied plaintiff's request to view and copy his mental health records at FCC. Plaintiff then filed an IRR. Defendant Karen Salsman responded to the IRR, denying the request and explaining that mental health records are not released to inmates while they are in MDOC custody. ECF No. 1-1 at 2. Plaintiff then filed a grievance. Defendant Lisa Sanderson denied the grievance, stating:

DOC and Corizon policies do allow for offenders to have access to and view their medical records. However, mental health records are not allowed to be on your person while you are in the custody of Department of Corrections … Having such records in your possession may likely lead to safety and security issues for you as well as mental health staff.

ECF No. 1-1 at 3. Plaintiff's appeal of his grievance was denied by defendants J. Cofield and T. Bredeman.

         Plaintiff states that he needs his mental health records to use as evidence in his Missouri state court habeas corpus Rule 91 petition. Plaintiff asserts that the records will prove that he was on a “mind-altering substance” because he was taking the “psychotropic medication” of Prozac at the time of his plea agreement. ECF No. 1 at 10 & 14. Plaintiff wants to use this evidence to appeal the length of his sentence in a Rule 91 ...

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