United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
SHIRLEY PADMORE MENSAH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the motion of plaintiff
Lester Charles for leave to commence this civil action
without prepayment of the required filing fee. (Docket No.
3). Having reviewed the motion and the financial information
submitted in support, the Court has determined that plaintiff
lacks sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee, and will
assess an initial partial filing fee of $3.70. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Additionally, for the reasons
discussed below, plaintiff will be directed to file an
amended complaint on a Court-form.
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 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 the Court each time the
amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10.00, until
the filing fee is fully paid. Id.
support of his motion to proceed in forma pauperis, plaintiff
submitted a certified inmate account statement. (Docket No.
4). The statement shows an average monthly deposit of $18.50.
The Court will therefore assess an initial partial filing fee
of $3.70, which is 20 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 can be
granted. To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim for relief,
which is more than a “mere possibility of
misconduct.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
679 (2009). “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 upon judicial experience and common sense.
Id. at 679. The court must “accept as true the
facts alleged, but not legal conclusions or threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements.” Barton v. Taber,
820 F.3d 958, 964 (8th Cir. 2016). See also Brown v.
Green Tree Servicing LLC, 820 F.3d 371, 372-73 (8th Cir.
2016) (stating that court must accept factual allegations in
complaint as true, but is not required to “accept as
true any legal conclusion couched as a factual
reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2), the
Court must give it the benefit of a liberal construction.
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) (stating that federal courts
are not required to “assume facts that are not alleged,
just because an additional factual allegation would have
formed a stronger complaint”). In addition, affording a
pro se complaint the benefit of a liberal construction does
not mean that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation
must be interpreted 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 inmates from the Farmington Correctional Center
(FCC) in Farmington, Missouri, filed a joint lawsuit pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docket No. 1). The complaint named
seven defendants, all of whom were sued in both their
individual and official capacities. Plaintiff was among the
inmates who filed the joint lawsuit. He also filed an
individual motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
(Docket No. 3). Because the Court does not allow prisoners to
join together and proceed in forma pauperis, the lawsuit was
severed, and new cases were opened for each individual
plaintiff, using the complaint in the originating action.
(Docket No. 2).
noted above, plaintiff is an inmate currently incarcerated at
FCC. He, along with five other inmates, filed a complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint names the
following defendants: Bill Bowyer, Teri Lawson, Tami White,
Melanie Coffman, Edmund Jennings, Sharron Montgomery, and
Paul Blair. (Docket No. 1 at 4-5). Generally, the complaint
alleges that the constitutional rights of all six inmates are
being violated due to unsanitary conditions of confinement.
Specifically, plaintiff alleges that there is a roach
infestation and “black mold” in the A-dining and
B-dining areas. (Docket No. 1 at 8). He also claims that the
steam machine in A-dining “was not running at proper
temperatures for dish sanitation.” (Docket No. 1 at 9).
Plaintiff states that prison officials have been made aware
of these issues, but they have not been satisfactorily
handled. The complaint also contains various declarations and
grievance filings from many of the six prisoners.
seeks an injunction ordering defendants to clean up the black
mold, deal with the infestations, and fix the steam machines.
(Docket No. 1 at 14). Plaintiff also requests $60, 000 in
“nominal/actual damages” against each defendant;
$40, 000 in compensatory ...