United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Bobby
Duane Johnson, 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
to not assess an initial partial filing fee at this time.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4). Additionally, for
the reasons discussed below, the Court will give plaintiff
the opportunity to file an amended complaint.
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 that he has been without funds
since November 1, 2018, and that no deposits have been made
to his account. It also shows he owes money for medication.
The Court will therefore not assess an initial partial filing
fee at this time. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4).
However, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), plaintiff
is still required to pay the full amount of the statutory
filing fee. Plaintiff will be required to make monthly
payments of 20% of the preceding month's income credited
to his account, and the Court will direct the facility where
plaintiff is held to forward those monthly payments each time
the balance exceeds $10, until the $350 filing fee is paid.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
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).
a convicted and sentenced state prisoner who is currently
incarcerated at the Pemiscot County Jail, brings this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Torrance Akins, the
Jail Administrator. He sues the defendant in his official and
alleges he is being denied access to the law library. On the
form complaint, in the section soliciting information about
the injuries plaintiff suffered, he wrote “N/A.”
(Docket No. 1 at 4). As relief, he asks the Court to
“make them place the full law library back in the
County Jail, ” and to award $75, 000 in punitive
damages “because of my rights being violated, due
process of law, my rights to present a defense.”
Id. at 5. He neither explains what he means by
“present a defense, ” nor describes a legal claim
he attempted to pursue.
filing the complaint, plaintiff filed two letters addressed
to the Clerk of this Court. (Docket Nos. 5 and 6). In the
first letter, plaintiff wrote that the defendant was
retaliating against him for filing this lawsuit and for
filing grievances. He also wrote he was “assaulted
because he left some people in the pod that should not have
been in here, ” and wished to press charges. (Docket
No. 5). In the second letter, plaintiff wrote that his legal
mail was being opened, and that he wished to press ...