United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Rico
Paul, a prisoner who is currently incarcerated at the
Jefferson City Correctional Center (JCCC), for leave to
commence this civil action without prepayment of the required
filing fee. The Court will grant the motion and assess an
initial partial filing fee of $1.00. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(1). Additionally, for the reasons discussed
below, the Court will dismiss the complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)
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.
signed the complaint on June 24, 2019, and it was filed in
this Court on June 27, 2019. At that time, plaintiff was
incarcerated at the Potosi Correctional Center (PCC). Along
with the instant motion, plaintiff submitted a letter stating
that PCC staff refused to give him a copy of his inmate
account statement. In the motion, plaintiff states his
brothers send him money from time to time. Therefore,
plaintiff will be required to pay an initial partial filing
fee of $1.00, an amount that is reasonable based upon the
information before the Court. See Henderson v.
Harris, 129 F.3d 481, 484 (8th Cir. 1997) (when a
prisoner is unable to provide the Court with a certified copy
of his prison account statement, the Court should assess an
amount "that is reasonable, based on whatever
information the court has about the prisoner's
finances."). Any claim that plaintiff is unable to pay
this amount must be supported by a copy of plaintiffs
institution account statement.
Standard on Initial Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), 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 Twombty, 550 U.S. at
555). In assessing whether an action is subject to dismissal
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), courts may consider
materials that are attached to the complaint as exhibits.
Reynolds v. Dormire, 636 F.3d 976, 979 (8th Cir.
2011) (citations omitted), Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c) ("A copy
of a written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is a
part of the pleading for all purposes.").
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).
filed the amended complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against 13 defendants: Corrections Officers Teddford, Miller,
Conrad, Campbell, Harsh, Hobbs, and Harley; Sergeant Mezo;
Caseworkers Unknown Browers, Steve Francis and Unknown
Eddleman; Function Unit Manager Jennifer Price; and Major
Hunter. He states he sues Miller and Price in their official
and individual capacities. He does not specify the capacity
in which he sues the remaining 11 defendants.
plaintiffs claims arose when he was incarcerated at PCC, and
are related to a leaking ceiling. Plaintiff attached to the
complaint an exhibit containing copies of the Informal
Resolution Request (IRR), Grievance, and Grievance Appeal he
filed related to the leak, along with copies of the responses
he received. The Court will consider these materials in
assessing whether this action is subject to dismissal under
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). Reynolds, 636 F.3d at 979,
Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c). Plaintiff alleges as follows.
December 26, 2018 while plaintiff was housed in
administrative segregation, the ceiling began leaking.
Plaintiff told Teddford, Miller, Mezo and Conrad and asked to
be moved, but they refused. Later, plaintiff had the same
exchange with Campbell and Harsh, and Harsh said "it
sucks to be you." The next day, plaintiff told Price,
Hunter and Francis about the leak, but they ignored him.
Plaintiff writes: "Let me bring to the court's
attention I made them aware that those condition were
inhumane living condition which is a deliberate
indifference." Plaintiff also spoke to Miller, Teddford,
Hobbs and Mezo. Later, Browers visited plaintiffs cell and
asked him when he was scheduled to be released from
segregation. Plaintiff told him on January 3, 3019, and
Browers replied "Good because you don't have to
suffer much longer." Plaintiff later reported the leak
to Harley, who told him that was not part of his job
description. On December 28, plaintiff told another officer
about the leak, but she ignored him.
alleges the water was "mold-infested" and
unsanitary, and he states he sought medical attention because
he was having trouble breathing. Plaintiff alleges no
additional facts about his physical condition, nor does he
state he received medical treatment or allege that treatment
was refused. In the section of the complaint soliciting
information about plaintiffs injuries, he wrote: ...