United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon review of a complaint and
other documents filed by plaintiff Sherron Wilson, an inmate
at the Potosi Correctional Center (PCC). For the reasons
explained below, the Court will allow plaintiff to proceed in
forma pauperis in this action, and will assess an initial
partial filing fee of $171.48. Additionally, 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.
case at bar, plaintiff filed a motion to appoint counsel in
which he averred he was impoverished and unable to pay a
reasonable attorney fee. He also filed a document explaining
that he did not know how to pay the filing fee and asking the
Court to debit his account, which the Court cannot do.
Finally, plaintiff submitted a certified inmate account
statement showing an average monthly deposit of $27.01 and an
average monthly balance of $857.42. The Court will construe
plaintiff's filings as a request for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis, and will allow him to do so. The Court will
also assess an initial partial filing fee of $171.48, which
is twenty percent of plaintiff's average monthly balance.
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
Anne Precythe, the Director of the Missouri Department of
Corrections. He sues Precythe in her individual and official
writes: “I keep getting physically and verbally
sexually harassed in every level and department of correction
I go to.” He alleges that every cellmate physically
and/or verbally abuses him, sexually harasses him, or does
all of those things. He alleges he was raped on “June
the 5th by an inmate that the staff let rape me in front of
Housing Unit number four, ” and that because of this,
plaintiff had to be transferred. Plaintiff alleges there is
“a guy on the streets” who pays people in
institutions to treat him this way. Plaintiff identifies two
gangs, and he names prior cellmates who have subjected him to
various forms of abuse. He alleges “[t]hey pay the
inmates by letting them have sex with the nurses, ” and
he identifies the people involved. He states he did not
receive medical treatment after he was raped. He does not
clearly identify the relief he seeks from this Court, but he
does state he wants to be housed in a single cell or placed
in protective custody.
has named Precythe as the defendant in this matter. However,
plaintiff does not allege she was directly involved in any
incident that harmed him or in anything that could be said to
have given rise to such an incident, or that she was aware of
any such incident. Instead, plaintiff's allegations
against Precythe sound in respondeat superior.
“Liability under § 1983 requires a causal link to,
and direct responsibility for, the alleged deprivation of
rights.” Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203,
1208 (8th Cir. 1990); see also Martin v. Sargent,
780 F.2d 1334, 1338 (8th Cir. 1985) (to be cognizable under
§ 1983, a claim must allege that the defendant was
personally involved in or directly responsible for the
incidents that deprived the plaintiff of his constitutional
rights). Claims sounding in respondeat superior are not
cognizable under § 1983. Boyd v. Knox, 47 F.3d
966, 968 (8th Cir. 1995). Plaintiff also fails to specify