United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PATRICIA L. COHEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of pro se plaintiff
Ashley Porter for leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this
employment discrimination action. Having reviewed the motion
and the financial information therein, the Court has
determined to grant the motion. Additionally, the Court will
direct plaintiff to file an amended complaint.
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 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
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). This
means that if the essence of an allegation is discernible,
the district court should construe the plaintiff's
complaint in a way that permits 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).
Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit on September 10, 2019 by
filing an employment discrimination complaint against
defendant Stonecrest at Clayton View. The complaint is on a
Court-provided form, as required. Plaintiff placed check
marks indicating she brings this lawsuit pursuant to Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Rehabilitation
Act of 1973. She placed a check mark indicating she believes
she was discriminated against because of her race, but did
not place a check mark indicating she believes she was
discriminated against on the basis of a disability. Plaintiff
avers that the discrimination occurred the morning of
November 29, 2018. However, she left blank the space provided
for her to state the facts of her claim and describe the
conduct she believed was discriminatory. She also left blank
the space provided for her to describe the relief she seeks
from this Court.
attached a copy of the administrative charge she filed with
the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR). Therein,
plaintiff described incidents that occurred in June, July,
November and December of 2018, and claimed she was terminated
because of her race, Black. She alleged no adverse employment
action on the basis of disability. Plaintiff also attached a
copy of the right-to-sue letter she received from the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), dated September 3,
2019. It therefore appears plaintiff has timely brought this
complaint is subject to dismissal because plaintiff has not
alleged facts in support of the claims she wishes to bring
before this Court. Simply checking boxes is insufficient.
Even pro se plaintiffs are required to allege facts in
support of their claims, and courts will not assume facts
that are not alleged. See Stone, 364 F.3d at 914-15.
consideration of plaintiff's pro se status, the Court
will give her the opportunity to file an amended complaint to
clearly set forth the claims she wishes to bring before this
Court and the factual allegations in support of those claims.
Plaintiff is advised that the claims she brings before this
Court must be like or reasonably related to the claims
outlined in her administrative charge or they will be subject
to dismissal for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
See, e.g., Duncan v. Delta Consolidated Indus.,
Inc., 371 F.3d 1020, 1024 (8th Cir. 2004).
amended complaint will replace the original complaint.
E.g., In re Wireless Telephone Federal Cost
Recovery Fees Litigation, 396 F.3d 922, 928 (8th Cir.
2005). Plaintiff must submit the amended complaint on a
court-provided form, and she must comply with the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, including Rules 8 and 10. Rule 8
requires plaintiff to set forth a short and plain statement
of the claim showing entitlement to relief, and it also
requires that each averment be simple, concise and direct.
Rule 10 requires plaintiff to state her claims in separately
numbered paragraphs, each limited as far as practicable to a
single set of circumstances.
plaintiff wishes to assert claims under Title VII for race
discrimination, she must state what her race is and then
carefully describe the adverse employment action she believes
was taken and why it amounted to race discrimination. She
must also file copies of her administrative charge and her
EEOC right-to-sue letter. Plaintiff is reminded that the
claims she brings before this Court must be like or
reasonably related to the claims she described in her
administrative charge, or they may be dismissed.
Clerk of Court will be directed to provide plaintiff with an
employment discrimination complaint form. Plaintiff will be
given thirty days to file an amended complaint along with the
required documents. Upon receipt of the amended ...