United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon the amended motion of pro
se plaintiff Lamont Williamson for leave to commence
this action without prepayment of the required filing fee.
Having reviewed the motion, the Court has determined that
plaintiff lacks sufficient funds to pay the filing fee. The
motion will be granted and no initial filing fee will be
accessed at this time. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(4). Furthermore, for the reasons discussed below, the
complaint will be dismissed without prejudice.
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 or her 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, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.
initiation, plaintiff filed an unsigned motion to proceed in
district court without prepaying fees or costs. ECF No. 2.
Because plaintiff’s motion was unsigned, the Court
issued an Order directing the Clerk of Court to return the
unsigned motion to plaintiff and ordered plaintiff to either
sign the motion and return it, or to pay the filing fee. ECF
No. 6. Plaintiff filed the signed motion on September 19,
2019. ECF No. 8. Although the form motion states that an
inmate must also submit a certified prison account statement,
plaintiff has not done so. See ECF No. 8 at 3. In
his motion, plaintiff states that he has no job, no income,
no assets, and no money in his prison account. Taking this
into consideration, the Court will not assess an initial
partial filing fee at this time. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b)(4) (“In no event shall a prisoner be
prohibited from bringing a civil action . . . for the reason
that the prisoner has no assets and no means by which to pay
the initial partial filing fee.”).
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, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. To state a claim
for relief, a complaint must plead more than “legal
conclusions” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere
conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plaintiff must demonstrate a
plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere
possibility of misconduct.” Id. at 679.
“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 on its judicial experience and common sense.
Id. at 679.
reviewing a pro se complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
1915, the Court accepts the well-plead facts as true,
White v. Clark, 750 F.2d 721, 722 (8th Cir. 1984),
and liberally construes the complaint. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); 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) (refusing to supply
additional facts or to construct a legal theory for the
pro se plaintiff that assumed facts that had not
currently incarcerated at Southeast Correctional Center
(“SECC”), brings this action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for alleged violations of the Eighth Amendment
that stem from an incident which occurred at Potosi
Correctional Center (“PCC”) in 2011. Plaintiff
names seven defendants in their individual capacities: (1)
Missouri Department of Corrections (“MDOC”); (2)
Warden Troy Steele; (3) Correctional Officer Charles Sullens;
(4) Correctional Officer Charles Lawson; (5) Correctional
Officer Brian Brown; (6) attorney Joseph C. Blanton, Jr.; and
(7) attorney Anthony H. Relys.
complaint is disjointed and difficult to follow. It contains
multiple summaries of the same incident with listings of
legal citations intermixed. In summary, plaintiff alleges
that correctional officers Sullens, Lawson, and Brown failed
to protect him from being attacked by his cellmate on May 23,
2011, at PCC. Plaintiff asserts that the correctional
officers were aware of the serious risk of bodily harm to
him. Yet, they not only failed to protect him from the
attack, they encouraged and assisted the attacker. Plaintiff
states that an investigation of the incident by the Attorney
General’s office sustained his allegations against the
lists only one Count in his complaint: failure to protect
against defendants Brown, Lawson, and Sullens. ECF No. 1 at
13. However, plaintiff names four additional defendants in
this matter. In the factual background section of the
complaint, plaintiff asserts that neither Warden Steele nor
the MDOC took any corrective action against the three
officers who failed to protect him, even after the attorney
general’s investigation results were released.
Id. at 6, 10-11.
2012, following the incident, plaintiff states that he filed
a § 1983 action in this court for which he was appointed
counsel. Id. at 11. Plaintiff alleges that his
appointed counsel, defendant Joseph C. Blanton, Jr., altered
the allegations of plaintiff’s case without
plaintiff’s consent; concealed evidence from plaintiff;
lied to plaintiff; and conspired with defense counsel in the
matter, defendant Anthony Relys, to commit fraud on the
Court. Id. at 11-12.
relief, plaintiff asks the Court for: (1) sanctions under
Rules 61, 4-3.3, and 4-3.4; (2) actual damages; (3) punitive
damages; (4) declaratory judgment; (5) filing fees to be paid
by the defendants; (6) a letter of apology; (7) an order
directing that the defendants be fired from employment with
the MDOC; (8) an order referring defendants for prosecution
for their ...