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Schmaltz v. McKissic

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

August 1, 2019

ALACIOUS MCKISSIC, et al., Defendants,



         This matter comes before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Michael Schmaltz for leave to commence this civil action without prepayment of the required filing fee. (Docket No. 2). Having reviewed the financial information submitted in support, the Court finds that the motion should be granted. Additionally, for the reasons discussed below, plaintiff will be directed to show cause why his complaint should not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         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, 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 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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff is a pro se litigant who brings this civil action against defendants Alacious McKissic and Elma McBroom. Defendant McKissic is the apartment manager at the Stamping Lofts in St. Louis, Missouri. (Docket No. 1 at 2). Defendant McBroom is an “alleged caseworker” at the St. Patrick's Center. (Docket No. 1 at 3). He states that his case arises under 18 U.S.C. § 241 - Conspiracy against rights. (Docket No. 1 at 4).

         Plaintiff states that on October 22, 2018, he reported a rodent infestation to defendant McKissic. (Docket No. 1 at 7). He informed McKissic that the rodents had caused him to fall and hurt himself. He states that McKissic responded by threatening to throw plaintiff out of the building because plaintiff had damaged apartment property. Plaintiff asserts that the unspecified property damage he caused was his “first negative incident” during his tenancy at Stamping Lofts. He further asserts that McKissic “went on a rampage, ” and that she threatened and harassed him. He states that he was scared and called the police. Two officers responded to his call, but they advised him “that they had no jurisdiction over the matter.” (Docket No. 1 at 7-8).

         Following this incident, plaintiff states that he was “harassed and threatened for a period of three months” by unnamed staff and tenants. (Docket No. 1 at 8). Plaintiff alleges that defendant McKissic “later used this incident to have [him] illegally evicted from [his] apartment.” He states that the harassment and threats by the Stamping Lofts staff caused him to suffer brain seizures.

         Late in the morning of October 23, 2018, defendants McKissic and McBroom knocked on plaintiff's apartment door. Plaintiff states that he was in the shower, that his bathroom door was open, and that his bathroom door is directly adjacent to the apartment's front door.

         McKissic and McBroom “announced that they were entering the apartment, ” and plaintiff advised them that he was in the shower. (Docket No. 1 at 9). He told them to call and make an appointment. Nonetheless, McKissic and McBroom stated they were coming inside. Plaintiff alleges that they “illegally unlocked [his] door and barged into the room, ” even though he was naked. Moreover, when McKissic opened the door, she knocked over a table, causing damage to his laptop computer, his notebook computer, his cell phone, and a recovery CD.

         Before McKissic and McBroom entered the apartment, plaintiff called 911. Eventually, two St. Louis police officers arrived. Plaintiff told the officers he was running late for a medical appointment, so they told him that they would leave a report number and their names at the front desk. However, plaintiff states he never received these.

         Plaintiff claims that defendant McKissic used her “master key to illegally enter [his] apartment several times before and after this incident.” (Docket No. 1 at 10). This caused him undue panic and stress. He states that the St. Louis Police, the St. Louis County Sheriff's Department, and the Elder Abuse hotlines were not “able or willing to address this.”

         On October 29, 2018, at approximately 5:00 p.m., front desk personnel at Stamping Lofts granted “two St. Louis deputies” access to his apartment without a warrant. Plaintiff alleges that defendant McBroom had ordered him placed into a psychiatric facility “purely to harass” him. He asked the deputies for a warrant or an order signed by a judge. When the deputies could not produce such a document, plaintiff advised them that they were in his apartment illegally and asked them to leave. At this point, plaintiff claims that “the deputies became agitated and violent.” He further alleges that they “assaulted [him] with mace and physical force, ...

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