United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
ANTHONY M. GREER, Plaintiff,
BILL BOWYER, et al., Defendants;
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Anthony
M. Greer, an inmate at the Farmington Correctional Center
("FCC"), 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 $4.17. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Additionally, for the reasons
discussed below, the Court will give plaintiff the
opportunity to file an amended complaint.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), a prisoner bringing
a civil action in forma pauper is 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
$20.83. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial
filing fee of $4.17, 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, 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).
3, 2019, six prisoners confined at the FCC, including
plaintiff herein, filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, naming 7 defendants. See Faircloth v.
Bowyer, 4:19-CV-1188-RLW, ECF No. 1 (E.D. Mo. May 3,
2019). They each filed separate motions for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. Because the Court does not allow
prisoners to join together and proceed in forma
pauperis in a single lawsuit, the Court severed the
plaintiffs and opened new cases for each one, using the
complaint filed in the originating action. See ECF
complaint alleges that the constitutional rights of the six
prisoners are being violated because, in a particular dining
area, they are being subjected to unsanitary conditions that
threaten their health. More specifically, the complaint
alleges the presence of black mold, insect infestation, the
lack of proper cleaning chemicals, and improper sanitization
practices. It also alleges that each named defendant is
responsible for the dining area and/or the facility as a
whole, and is responsible for the welfare of all inmates.
Attached to the complaint are various declarations and
grievance filings from many of the six prisoners. One
declaration, signed by ...