United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
SHIRLEY PADMORE MENSAH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court upon the motion of pro se
plaintiff Sheridan Arland Lane, II for leave to commence this
action without prepayment of the required filing fee.
Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the Jefferson County
Jail when he filed his complaint on July 8, 2019. On July 11,
2019, Plaintiff filed a change of address notice with the
Court indicating that he had been released from
incarceration. Because plaintiff was released from
confinement shortly after filing the instant action, the
Court will grant his request to proceed in forma
pauperis and will not assess an initial partial filing
fee at this time. Additionally, for the reasons discussed
below, the Court will give plaintiff the opportunity to file
an amended complaint.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), when a prisoner brings a civil
action in forma pauperis, the prisoner must pay the
full amount of the filing fee, usually in the form of an
initial partial payment then installment payments over time.
However, a non-prisoner plaintiff can litigate without
payment of any fees if he qualifies under the general in
forma pauperis provision of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
circuit authority is split on the question of whether the
PLRA prison litigation provisions of § 1915 continue to
govern if and after the prisoner is released pendente
lite (that is, during the litigation). The Fifth,
Seventh and District of Columbia Circuits have held that the
full payment requirement is triggered upon the filing of the
(as applicable) complaint or notice of appeal. … The
Second, Fourth, Sixth and Tenth Circuits have concluded to
the contrary, that the requirements of the PLRA do not
continue to apply after the plaintiff is released.”
Putzer v. Attal, 2013 WL 4519351, at *1 (D. Nev.
Aug. 23, 2013) (internal citations omitted).
Eighth Circuit has not ruled on this issue. However, in this
case, plaintiff was released shortly after filing this case
and before the Court had ruled his motion for in forma
pauperis and ordered an initial partial payment.
Therefore, the Court will consider plaintiff as he currently
stands at the time of the review of his motion - as a
non-prisoner plaintiff under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
Based on the financial information submitted, the Court finds
that plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the
filing fee and will grant his motion.
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
and the Complaint
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging
violations of his civil rights based on events that occurred
while he was a pretrial detainee at the Jefferson County
Jail. Plaintiff names eight defendants in their individual
and official capacities: (1) Brenda Short (Jail
Administrator); (2) David Marshak (Jefferson County Sheriff);
(3) Unknown Day (Officer); (4) Jefferson County, Missouri;
(5) Unknown Shannon (Medical Staff); (6) Unknown Melonie
(Medical Staff); (7) Unknown Shantel (Medical Staff); and (8)
complaint is long and difficult to understand. Some
background is helpful. A review of the Court's records
indicates that plaintiff filed a different § 1983 case
with this Court about six weeks before filing this case.
See Lane v. Shiele, No. 4:19-cv-1408-RWS (E.D. Mo.
May 22, 2019). Although Lane v. Shiele names
different defendants, the complaint in that matter provides
some background information for understanding plaintiff's
preexisting injuries and medical conditions prior to his
detention at the Jefferson County Jail.
to plaintiff's Lane v. Shiele complaint,
plaintiff was released from St. Louis University
(“SLU”) Hospital on July 3, 2019, after receiving
medical care for a broken pelvis, broken left clavicle, and
two collapsed lungs. Five days later, on July 8, 2019,
plaintiff was stopped by Pevely police officers as part of a
routine traffic stop. Plaintiff alleges that the officers
used excessive force when arresting him during that traffic
stop. The force caused damage to his healing injuries. This
July 8th arrest lead to plaintiff's detention
at the Jefferson County Jail.
the complaint in the instant matter, plaintiff's main
allegation is that he received inadequate medical follow-up
care for his injuries while detained at the Jail. He states
that his medical treatment was “neglected, ” he
was given the wrong medications, he did not receive needed
physical therapy, and he did receive the proper medical tests
and X-rays. According to plaintiff, his SLU physician
diagnosed him with nerve damage and knee/joint separation but
once he was detained, he was told by medical staff that those
injuries could wait until his release for treatment.
Plaintiff alleges that he had MRSA (staph infection) for four
months while the Jail told him he was fine. He says that he
was finally taken to the hospital “due to [his] collar
bone opening up and the titanium plate [being] exposed”
and he was placed in immediate surgery. ECF No. 1 at 4-5.
Plaintiff asserts that he had two surgeries due to neglected
medical care - in September and November 2018 - one of which
was because the MSRA infection required the removal of the
titanium from his clavicle. Id. at 5, 10. Plaintiff
also had to endure a catheter for five days which has caused
scarring in his urethra. Overall, plaintiff alleges that the
lack of adequate medical care at the Jefferson County Jail
has caused him severe pain and lifelong medical problems
including: left clavicle scarring; erection/ejaculation
problems; nerve damage to his right hand and right thigh
making it difficult to stand and walk for long periods ...