United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon two motions filed by
plaintiff Derrick Cobb. For the reasons explained below,
plaintiffs motion for leave to file an amended complaint will
be denied as moot, the Clerk will be directed to docket
plaintiffs amended complaint and effect service of process
upon it, and plaintiffs motion to compel will be denied.
is a prisoner who is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis.
He initiated this action by filing a complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C § 1983 against four defendants, all of whom are
employed by the Missouri Department of Corrections
("MDOC"): Tracy Madlock (a corrections officer and
the mailroom supervisor), Donna Wigfall (Function Unit
Manager), Omar Clark (Warden or Assistant Warden), and Cindy
Griffith (Deputy Division Director of Adult Institutions). He
sued the defendants in their official and individual
capacities. On June 25, 2019 this Court entered an order
dismissing Madlock from the action and dismissing plaintiffs
claims against Wigfall, Clark and Griffith that were premised
upon the denial of access to the courts, and directing the
Clerk of Court to issue process upon plaintiffs due process
claims against Wigfall, Clark and Griffith. To date, the
Missouri Attorney General's Office has not advised
whether it will waive service of process with respect to any
defendant, nor has any defendant answered or otherwise
responded to the complaint.
instant motion, plaintiff notes the foregoing and avers he
"does not contest this Court's ruling regarding
Tracy Madlock and the denial of access to the court
claim," but wishes to file an amended complaint to
"come into compliance with this Court's Memorandum
and Order." Attached to the motion is a proposed amended
complaint in which plaintiff sets forth due process claims
against Wigfall, Clark and Griffith.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide, in relevant part,
that a party may amend its pleading once as a matter of
course within 21 days after serving it, or if the pleading is
one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after
service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of
a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). The original complaint is a pleading
to which a responsive pleading is required. To date, no
defendant has filed a responsive pleading. Plaintiff
therefore does not require leave of court to file an amended
complaint. The Court will therefore deny the motion as moot,
and will review the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
Plaintiff filed the amended complaint against Wigfall, Clark
and Griffith in their individual and official capacities.
Condensed and summarized, plaintiff alleges his right to due
process was violated when mail sent to him by the St. Louis
City Circuit Court was rejected and he was not notified. As
in the original complaint, plaintiff alleges that Wigfall,
Clark and Griffith personally denied his IRR, Offender
Grievance and Grievance Appeal on the basis that his mail was
processed in accordance with prison policy, and that
plaintiff had produced no evidence that staff acted outside
the scope of that policy. He seeks declaratory, injunctive
and monetary relief
Procunier v. Martinez, the Supreme Court held
"[t]he interest of prisoners and their correspondents in
uncensored communication by letter, grounded as it is in the
First Amendment, is plainly a 'liberty' interest
within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment even though
qualified of necessity by the circumstance of
imprisonment." 416 U.S. 396, 417 (1974), overruled on
other grounds, Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401
(1989). Therefore, "the decision to censor or withhold
delivery of a particular letter must be accompanied by
minimum procedural safeguards." Id. The Court
approved a requirement that an inmate be notified of the
rejection, and have a reasonable opportunity to protest the
decision. Id.; see also Bonner v. Outlaw, 552 F.3d
673 (8th Cir. 2009) (citing Procunier, 416 U.S.
cannot proceed against Wigfall, Clark and Griffith based
solely upon their administrative or supervisory positions.
However, plaintiff can be understood to allege that these
defendants were personally involved in creating, applying
and/or interpreting a policy that was unconstitutional and
failed to adhere to the notice requirements of Procunier.
See Bonner, 552 F.3d at 679 (rejecting warden's
argument that he had no personal involvement in mailroom
operations, noting that the plaintiff may be able to prove
warden was personally involved in creating, applying or
interpreting a policy that failed to adhere to the notice
requirements of Procunier); see also Solomon, 795
F.3d at 787 (citation omitted) ("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
individual capacity claims against Wigfall, Clark and
Griffith will be allowed to proceed. Additionally, to the
extent plaintiff seeks to enjoin a prospective action that
would violate federal law, his official-capacity claims
against these defendants will be allowed to proceed. See
281 Care Comm. v. Arneson, 638 F.3d 621, 632 (8th Cir.
2011) (citing Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908)).
However, to the extent plaintiff seeks monetary or other
relief against these defendants in their official capacities,
such claims would be barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
filing the motion for leave to amend, plaintiff filed a
motion to compel a response to his original complaint. This
motion will be denied, as the filing of the amended complaint
replaces the original. See In re Wireless Telephone
Federal Cost Recovery Fees Litigation, 396 F.3d 922, 928
(8th Cir. 2005) ("It is well-established that an amended
complaint supersedes an original complaint and renders the
original complaint without legal effect").
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion
for leave to amend (ECF No. 17) is DENIED as
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall
detach and file, from ECF No. 17, attachment 1, the Amended
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall
issue process or cause process to issue upon the Amended
Complaint, pursuant to the service agreement the Court
maintains with the Missouri Attorney General's Office, as
to defendants Donna Wigfall, ...