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Holifield v. Mississippi County Sheriff's Office Jail Adminstrator

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

September 20, 2019

RICKIE MONROE HOLIFIELD, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
MISSISSIPPI COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE JAIL ADMINSTRATOR, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr., Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Rickie Monroe Holifield for leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action. Upon consideration of the motion, the Court concludes that plaintiff is unable to pay the filing fee. The motion will therefore be granted. Additionally, the Court will dismiss the complaint, without prejudice.

         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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff filed the instant complaint using the Court's "Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983" form. It appears that plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the time of the events giving rise to plaintiffs claims, but he is not presently incarcerated. He states he is awaiting trial. Plaintiff names the Mississippi County Sheriffs Office "Jail Administrator" as defendant, and avers the defendant is employed by the Mississippi County Sheriffs Office. He does not indicate the capacity in which he sues the defendant, even though the complaint form clearly solicited that information.

         Plaintiffs allegations are best understood if quoted in full. They are as follows.

My constitutional rights were violated and left to hold my stool until release. I was booked and searched given a matt bar of soap and flip flops. No. toilet paper utensils for eating. Cup to drink out of and when asked for the [illegible] was rushed by Co. Faith ?? and Koss ?? and threatened by taser if I persisted. Humiliated and degraded by staff on numerous occasions. Denied medical treatment on 2 occasions and proper sanitary working toilets w/ old stool [illegible] by trash bag. On 24 hour hold that lasted 2 days.

         Later in the complaint, plaintiff writes:

Denied medical treatment by jail nurse. 2 times and multiple times by correction officers, although my blood pressure was unacceptable still denied med treatment by MD.

         Plaintiff seeks $2 million in damages due to "negligence and inhumane treatment by correctional officers, Jail ...


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