United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Derrick
Cobb, 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 $27.89. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Additionally, as fully explained
below, the Court will partially dismiss the complaint, and
direct the Clerk of Court to issue process upon defendants
Donna Wigfall, Omar Clark, and Cindy Griffith on plaintiffs
claims that are premised upon the denial of due process.
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 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.
support of the instant motion, plaintiff submitted an inmate
account statement showing an average monthly deposit of
$108.41, and an average monthly balance of $139.45. The Court
will therefore assess an initial partial filing fee of
$27.89, which is twenty percent of plaintiff s average
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 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).
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
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).
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
four defendants, all of whom are employed by the Missouri
Department of Corrections ("MDOC"): Tracy Madlock
(a corrections officer and the mailroom supervisor), Donna
Wigfall (Function Unit Manager), Omar Clark (Warden or
Assistant Warden), and Cindy Griffith (Deputy Division
Director of Adult Institutions). He sues the defendants in
their official and individual capacities.
events giving rise to plaintiffs claims occurred when he was
incarcerated at the Southeast Correctional Center
("SECC"). They concern a single occasion in June of
2018 when mail sent to him by the St. Louis City Circuit
Court was rejected, and he was not notified. Plaintiff
alleges this violated his right of access to the courts, and
his right to due process.
begins by providing what he calls a "Brief Summary of
the Case," in which he writes:
In this complaint, Plaintiff alleges that the Circuit Court
for the City of St. Louis, Missouri, mailed sent him a letter
or legal documents possibly relating to the Rule 29.15
post-conviction motion he mailed to the court in June 2018.
However, prison staff working in SECC mailroom did not
deliver the legal letter or legal documents to Plaintiff.
Nor, did the prison staff notify Plaintiff that some incoming
legal mail had arrived for him and was being rejected.
Instead, the SECC mailroom staff returned the incoming legal