United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
W. SIPPEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon the filing of plaintiff's
complaint. The complaint is defective because it has not been
drafted on the Court's form. See E.D. Mo. Local
Rule 2.06(A). Additionally, plaintiff must either pay the
filing fee or file a motion to proceed in forma pauperis.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). For the reasons
discussed below, the Court will give plaintiff the
opportunity to file an amended complaint, along with the
accompanying motion to proceed in forma pauperis.
Standard on Initial Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915, 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).
brought the instant action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
In his handwritten complaint he alleges that he was
incarcerated at Southeastern Correctional Center
(“SECC”) in May of 2019, and he had been placed
in restraints and placed on a “restraint” bench
while awaiting placement in protective custody. Plaintiff
claims that when he was told whom he was going to be placed
in a cell with, he determined that the individual was on his
enemy list, and he requested a new cellmate. Plaintiff states
that defendants told him that he would not be receiving a new
inmate and that he could remain on the restraint bench all
night and tightened his restraints in punishment for his
refusal to cell with his enemy. Plaintiff claims he is
bringing excessive force claims against the six listed
defendants in this action, although he has not articulated
the specific damages he is seeking nor the capacities he is
suing defendants under.
action, as currently written, is subject to dismissal. First,
plaintiff has not adequately alleged capacity in this
lawsuit. Where a “complaint is silent about the
capacity in which [plaintiff] is suing defendant, [a district
court must] interpret the complaint as including only
official-capacity claims.” Egerdahl v. Hibbing
Community College, 72 F.3d 615, 619 (8th Cir. 1995);
Nix v. Norman, 879 F.2d 429, 431 (8th Cir. 1989).
Naming a government official in his or her official capacity
is the equivalent of naming the government entity that
employs the official, in this case the State of Missouri.
Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S.
58, 71 (1989). “[N]either a State nor its officials
acting in their official capacity are ‘persons'
under § 1983.” Id. As a result, the
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
the complaint fails to adequately allege facts showing how
each named defendant was personally aware of and disregarded
a substantial risk to plaintiff's health or safety.
“Liability under § 1983 requires a causal link to,
and direct responsibility for, the deprivation of
rights.” Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203,
1208 (8th Cir. 1990), see also Martin v. Sargent,
780 F.2d 1334, 1338 (8th Cir. 1985) (claim not cognizable
under § 1983 where plaintiff fails to allege defendant
was personally involved in or directly responsible for
incidents that injured plaintiff). Plaintiff cannot hold the
defendants liable simply because they held supervisory or
administrative positions. See Boyd v. Knox, 47 F.3d
966, 968 (8th Cir. 1995) (claims sounding in respondeat
superior are not cognizable under § 1983). Rather,
plaintiff must specify what each particular defendant did to
violate his purported rights under the Constitution.
extent plaintiff believes his medical needs or his physical
needs were denied, plaintiff must articulate exactly what
those medical needs were and whether they were sufficiently
serious that a reasonable official could have and should have
known the risks to his health.
to the extent plaintiff believes that he was retaliated
against for exercising a constitutional right, he must
succinctly state the right he believes he was exercising, the
person he believes retaliated against him, and what actions
that purported retaliatory actions were taken by defendant.
Court will give plaintiff the opportunity to file an amended
complaint to set forth his claims for relief. Plaintiff is
advised that the amended complaint will replace the original.
E.g., In re Wireless Telephone Federal Cost
Recovery Fees Litigation, 396 F.3d 922, 928 (8th Cir.
2005). Plaintiff must submit the amended complaint on a
court-provided form, and he must comply with the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, including Rules 8 and 10. Rule 8
requires plaintiff to set forth a short and plain statement
of the claim showing entitlement to relief, and it also
requires that each averment be simple, concise and direct.
Rule 10 requires plaintiff to state ...