United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
VENNIS P. BROWN, SR., Plaintiff,
DUNKLIN COUNTY, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Vennis
P. Brown, an inmate at the Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and
Correctional Center (“ERDCC”), 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
$1.75. 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.
Partial Filing Fee
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 an average monthly deposit of
$8.75. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial
filing fee of $1.75, which is twenty percent of
plaintiff's average monthly deposit.
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
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).
February 15, 2019, plaintiff, a former pretrial detainee at
Dunklin County Jail, filed the instant action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights.
Plaintiff named the following individuals and entities as
defendants in this action: Dunklin County; Ashley Grisham;
Unknown Pewitt; Nicole Green; and Gina Whitlock. Plaintiff
named defendants in both their individual and official
failed to fill out the Statement of Claim section in his
complaint. Instead, plaintiff attached four copies of
“sick call request forms” to his complaint, dated
February and March of 2018, indicating that the Dunklin
County Jail doctor did not believe he was diabetic but he
needed diabetic supplies.
request for relief, plaintiff seeks $2.3 million dollars. He
states that he believes he has not received proper medical
care and he has been subjected to emotional distress.