United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PATRICIA L. COHEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon review of an amended
complaint filed by plaintiff Ashley Porter, who is proceeding
herein pro se and in forma pauperis. For the reasons
explained below, plaintiff will be given the opportunity to
file a second amended complaint.
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 can be
granted. To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim for relief,
which is more than a “mere possibility of
misconduct.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
679 (2009). “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 upon judicial experience and common sense.
Id. at 679. The court must “accept as true the
facts alleged, but not legal conclusions or threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements.” Barton v. Taber,
820 F.3d 958, 964 (8th Cir. 2016). See also Brown v.
Green Tree Servicing LLC, 820 F.3d 371, 372- 73 (8th
Cir. 2016) (stating that court must accept factual
allegations in complaint as true, but is not required to
“accept as true any legal conclusion couched as a
reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2), the
Court must give it the benefit of a liberal construction.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). This
means that if the essence of an allegation is discernible,
the district court should construe the plaintiff's
complaint in a way that permits 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) (stating that federal courts are not required to
“assume facts that are not alleged, just because an
additional factual allegation would have formed a stronger
complaint.”). In addition, affording a pro se complaint
the benefit of a liberal construction does not mean that
procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation must be
interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed
without counsel. See McNeil v. United States, 508
U.S. 106, 113 (1993).
initiated this lawsuit on September 10, 2019 by filing an
employment discrimination complaint against defendant
Stonecrest at Clayton View. She sought and was granted leave
to proceed in forma pauperis. Upon initial review, the Court
determined that the complaint was subject to dismissal
because plaintiff alleged no facts in support of her claims.
In an order dated September 12, 2019, the Court directed
plaintiff to file an amended complaint. In so doing, the
Court clearly explained to plaintiff why her complaint was
subject to dismissal, and clearly instructed her regarding
how to prepare the amended complaint. Plaintiff has now filed
an amended complaint, which the Court reviews pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
amended complaint is on a court-provided form, as required.
Plaintiff did not indicate the basis of her lawsuit, but she
checked a box indicating she believed she suffered
discrimination on the basis of her race. The Court can
therefore presume that plaintiff filed the amended complaint
pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42
U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq. for employment
discrimination on the basis of race.
avers she exhausted her administrative remedies, but she did
not attach copies of the relevant documents. When she filed
the original complaint, plaintiff did attach a copy of the
administrative charge she filed with the Missouri Commission
on Human Rights (MCHR), and a copy of the right-to-sue letter
she received from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) dated September 3, 2019.
indicates the alleged discrimination occurred on the morning
of November 29, 2018. However, as in the original complaint,
she left blank the space provided for her to state the facts
of her claim. She also once again left blank the space
provided for her to describe the relief she seeks from this
to the amended complaint are copies of disciplinary forms,
and plaintiff's February 18, 2019 handwritten statement.
In the statement, plaintiff describes a November 29, 2018
incident that occurred while she was working, and the
disciplinary action that followed. Plaintiff then writes:
“that is all a lie another employee that works there
now will tell you that I followed the proper [procedure]
actions at work and was not on a one on one.” The
statement contains no allegations that plaintiff suffered
employment discrimination on the basis of her race. Instead,
the statement can be understood to allege that
plaintiff's employer was wrong to discipline her because
she followed proper procedure.
amended complaint is subject to dismissal because plaintiff
has not alleged facts in support of her claim that she
suffered employment discrimination on the basis of her race,
or any other basis. Simply checking the box marked
“race” is insufficient. Even pro se plaintiffs
are required to allege facts in support of their claims, and
courts will not assume facts that are not alleged. See
Stone, 364 F.3d at 914-15. Additionally, plaintiff
failed to attach a copy of her administrative charge and the
right-to-sue letter she ...