United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
RICK J. LEWIS, JR., Plaintiff,
RUTH ANN DICKERSON, et al., Defendants.
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Rick J.
Lewis, Jr., an inmate at the Cape Girardeau County Jail, for
leave to commence this civil action without prepayment of the
required filing fee. (ECF No. 2). For the reasons explained
below, the Court will grant the motion and assess an initial
partial filing fee of $4.26. The Court will deny as moot
plaintiff's two duplicative motions for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. Additionally, for the reasons discussed
below, the Court will give plaintiff the opportunity to file
an amended complaint.
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.
support of the instant motion, plaintiff filed an inmate
account statement showing an average monthly deposit for the
relevant time period of $21.31, and an average monthly
balance of $14.20. The Court will therefore require plaintiff
to pay an initial partial filing fee of $4.26, which is
twenty percent of his average monthly deposit.
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 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 Twombly, 550 U.S. at
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).
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Sheriff Ruth Ann Dickerson, corrections officers Williams,
Rivas, Golden, and Ladner, and Sergeant Umphlett. He states
he sues the defendants in their official capacities. He
alleges as follows.
June 17, 2019, “there have been insufficient portions
served no meal the standard for adult prisoner.” The
jail has also failed to provide the inmates with sufficient
clothing, towels, mattresses and bedding. The jail is dirty,
there is “mold and filth hanging from the ceiling,
” and inmates' photographs are refused. There is no
law library access, which plaintiff claims amounts to cruel
and unusual punishment and violates his due process rights.
Plaintiff alleges that “by working here each defendant
is responsible for perpetrating these injuries to my rights.
By failing to correct them when brought to their attention
they condone them and continue them.” As relief,
plaintiff asks this Court to order the jail to remedy these
problems, install a law library, buy adequate clothing and
linens for inmates, inspect the building for health hazards,
and so forth. Plaintiff also seeks damages in the amount of
$1, 650, 000.
filing the complaint, plaintiff filed a motion seeking to add
parties and a motion seeking his release from ...