United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on review of the amended complaint
filed by plaintiff Dwayne Robison pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915. For the reasons discussed below, the Court will
dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint for failure to
state a claim.
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). 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 (8thCir.
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).
is a pro se litigant who is currently incarcerated at the
Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in
Bonne Terre, Missouri. He filed his original complaint on May
2, 2019, naming Lisa Sanderson, Elizabeth Atterberry, and Kay
McIntyre as defendants. (Docket No. 1). In his complaint,
plaintiff alleged that he was being punished as a transgender
individual by being placed in a single-man cell. (Docket No.
1 at 3).
August 22, 2019, the Court ordered plaintiff to file an
amended complaint. (Docket No. 14). In so doing, the Court
noted that plaintiff's complaint was deficient and
subject to dismissal. First, plaintiff had sued defendants in
their official capacities only. (Docket No. 14 at 5).
However, he made no attempt to demonstrate the liability of
the governmental entity that employed them. (Docket No. 14 at
5-6). Second, the Court advised plaintiff that even if
defendants were presumed to be sued in their individual
capacities, he had failed to state a claim against them.
(Docket No. 14 at 6). In particular, plaintiff used vague and
conclusory language that was insufficient to demonstrate the
personal responsibility of defendants for allegedly harming
Court directed plaintiff to file an amended complaint within
thirty days. The Court's order provided instructions for
plaintiff to follow when completing his amended complaint.
Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on September 23, 2019.
(Docket No. 15).
brings his amended complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. He names Kay McIntyre, Kenneth Hovis, Ashley Eastmen,
Karen Salemen, and Lisa Sanderson as defendants. Defendant
McIntyre is sued in both her individual and official
capacities. (Docket No. 15 at 2). Defendant Eastmen is sued
in her individual capacity only. (Docket No. 15 at 3).
Plaintiff has failed to indicate the capacity in which
defendants Hovis, Salemen, and Sanderson are sued.
amended complaint is difficult to read and understand. From
what the Court can discern, plaintiff is accusing defendants
of harassing him and making inappropriate statements about
his sexuality. Many of these statements apparently came in
relation to plaintiff's desire to be in a two-man cell.
He further believes that he is constitutionally entitled to
placement in a two-man cell, rather than a single-man cell.
defendant McIntyre, a mental health doctor, plaintiff alleges
that McIntyre made numerous “rude” statements
about homosexuals when he went to see her to get taken off
suicide watch. (Docket No. 15 at 2-3). He also states that
she went “out of her way to keep people on
suicide” watch for no reason. (Docket No. 15 at 3).
When answering plaintiff's health service requests,
McIntyre would question him about why he wanted to go back to
a two-man cell. (Docket No. 15 at 4). Plaintiff states that
when he told her his reasons, McIntyre would reply to him
that he only wanted to go to a two-man cell because he wanted
to “have sex and cause trouble.” He asserts that
this constitutes harassment. Furthermore, plaintiff claims
that McIntyre asked “rude” questions about why he
wanted to become transgender, and used homosexual slurs.
(Docket No. 15-1 at 4). Plaintiff also accuses McIntyre,
along with defendant Sanderson, of violating his
constitutional rights by not allowing him in a two-man cell.
(Docket No. 15-1 at 5). Finally, he alleges that McIntyre,
along with defendants Sanderson and Hovis, told other inmates
in administrative segregation that he was a child molester.
defendant Hovis, plaintiff claims that Hovis would
“slander and discriminate against” him on the
basis of “protected characteristic[s] such as [his]
race[, ] color[, ] national origin[, ] and sex.”
(Docket No. 15 at 3). He states that Hovis made harassing
statements and improperly processed grievances. (Docket No.
15 at 4). Plaintiff also accuses Hovis of making “smart
comments” when he asked him questions, and of using
homosexual slurs against him. (Docket No. 15-1 at 4).
Finally, he alleges that Hovis, ...