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Slayton v. St. Louis City

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

August 29, 2019

TERRY MANIEL SLAYTON, Plaintiff,
v.
ST. LOUIS CITY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon review of a complaint filed by plaintiff Terry Maniel Slayton, an inmate at the Boonville Correctional Center. For the reasons explained below, the Court will allow plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis in these proceedings, and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $47.75. Additionally, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will dismiss the complaint, without prejudice.

         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 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.

         This case originated in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, where plaintiff filed the instant complaint on or about April 26, 2019. On May 22, 2019, the Honorable Greg Kays entered an order transferring the case to this Court on the basis of venue. Judge Kays also granted plaintiff provisional leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

         This Court has reviewed the Financial Affidavit that plaintiff filed, and has determined to allow plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis in these proceedings. The Court has also reviewed plaintiffs certified inmate account statement, which shows an average monthly balance of $152.30 and an average monthly deposit of $238.73. The Court will therefore assess an initial partial filing fee of $47.75, which is twenty 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 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).

         "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." 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 555).

         This 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).

         Background

         Review of Missouri Case. net shows that on July 18, 2018, following a jury trial in the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis, plaintiff was convicted of domestic assault, burglary, and violation of an order of protection. State v. Terry Maniel Slayton, No. 17220CR02010-01 (22nd Jud. Cir. 2017). On September 26, 2018, he was sentenced to serve a total of 9 years' imprisonment. Defendant Moench, an Assistant Public Defender, is listed as plaintiffs counsel of record.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of St. Louis, Kimberly Gardner (the Prosecuting Attorney for the City of St. Louis), Sahara Myer (an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney), and Moench. ...


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