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Monroe v. Precythe

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

July 18, 2019

JASON MONROE, Plaintiff,
ANNE PRECYTHE, et al., Defendants.



         This matter comes before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Jason Monroe 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 $30.07. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Additionally, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will direct plaintiff to file an amended complaint.

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)

         Pursuant 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.

         In 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 $150.33. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial filing fee of $30.07, which is 20 percent of plaintiff s average monthly deposit.

         Legal Standard on Initial Review

         Under 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 allegation").

         When 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 plaintiffs 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 (8thCir. 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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the Farmington Correctional Center in Farrnington, Missouri. He brings this pro se civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint is handwritten on a Court form.

         Upon review of the complaint, it is unclear exactly how many defendants that plaintiff is attempting to sue. His form complaint contains two separate caption pages, in which he lists Col Jackson, Stephen Spitzmiller, Brady Payne, Mark Mills, Sergeant Ezersky, Anne Precythe, George Lombardi, Terri Lawson, Bill Bowyer, and Tammi White as defendants. (Docket No. 1 at 1-2). In the "parties" section of the complaint, he further lists Kristin Johnson, Functional Unit Manager Hinkle, CCMI Pickett, Lindell Edmonds, Paul Blair, Ian Wallace, Alan Earls, Anita Clarke, Shannon Clubb, and Sergeant Griffin. (Docket No. 1 at 4-5). There are also claims against Dena Boyd, Unknown Phister, Erin Gould, and Scott O'Kelley, who are not listed as defendants.[1] Meanwhile, there are no claims against defendants Jackson, Spitzmiller, Payne, Mills, or Ezersky, who appear in the caption on the first page.

         Plaintiff alleges that he suffers from the social anxiety disorder paruresis, which makes him unable to provide urine specimens for purposes of urinalyses. (Docket No. 1 at 7). As a result, plaintiff states that he was terminated from the Missouri Sex Offender Program and was not allowed parole. (Docket No. 1 at 11-12). Plaintiff generally alleges that defendants have not conducted urinalysis procedures in a manner that is consistent with Missouri Department of Corrections "Policy D5-7.1." (Docket No. 1 at 7). Specifically, he believes that he is entitled to the use of a catheter for urinary analysis. (Docket No. 1 at 11). Plaintiff claims that defendants have shown deliberate indifference to his "medical/mental health needs" that amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. (Docket No. 1 at 10). He also alleges that his due process rights have been violated. (Docket No. 1 at 12).

         Plaintiff seeks an order forcing the Missouri Department of Corrections to adhere to Policy D5-7.1 and to create a policy to accommodate offenders suffering from paruresis. (Docket No. 1 at 9). He also seeks ...

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