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Brown v. Dunklin County

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

November 22, 2019

VENNIS BROWN, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
DUNKLIN COUNTY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JEAN C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court upon the filing of the amended complaint. The Court dismissed plaintiff's action on September 12, 2019 due to plaintiff's failure to update his address. See Local Rule 2.06(B). As plaintiff has updated has address and filed his amended complaint in accordance with the Court's July 29, 2019 Memorandum and Order, the Court will vacate the dismissal and review plaintiff's amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. However, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court finds that the complaint should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, 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. An action is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis in either law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989). An action is malicious when it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing litigants and not for the purpose of vindicating a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F.Supp. 458, 461-63 (E.D. N.C. 1987), aff=d826 F.2d 1059 (4th Cir. 1987).

         To determine whether an action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must engage in a two-step inquiry. First, the Court must identify the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950-51 (2009). These include “legal conclusions” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements.” Id. at 1949. Second, the Court must determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 1950-51. This is a “context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 1950. The plaintiff is required to plead facts that show more than the “mere possibility of misconduct.” Id. The Court must review the factual allegations in the complaint “to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.” Id. at 1951. When faced with alternative explanations for the alleged misconduct, the Court may exercise its judgment in determining whether plaintiff's proffered conclusion is the most plausible or whether it is more likely that no misconduct occurred. Id. at 1950, 1951-52.

         Background

         Plaintiff Vennis Brown, Sr. is an inmate at Western Reception Diagnostic and Correctional Center (“WRDCC”). He filed this action on February 15, 2019, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that when he was a pretrial detainee at Dunklin County Jail the Dunklin County Jail doctor did not believe he was diabetic but he needed diabetic supplies.

         Because plaintiff did not actually include a “Statement of Claim” section in his original complaint but instead simply filed with the Court four copies of sick call request forms, the Court, on July 29, 2019, ordered plaintiff to amend his complaint on a court form in order to set forth his claim against the four named defendants in his complaint. Plaintiff was ordered to file his amended complaint no later than August 28, 2019.

         Mail was returned to the Court on August 12, 2019. Plaintiff's new address was found by the Clerk, and the Memorandum and Order entered on July 29, 2019 was resent to plaintiff on that same date. When the Court failed to hear from plaintiff and he still had not filed his amended complaint by September 12, 2019, the Court dismissed this action on that date due to plaintiff's failure to update the Court with his new address pursuant to Local Rule 2.06.

         On September 16, 2019, plaintiff filed his amended complaint in this closed action. The Court will vacate the dismissal order and review plaintiff's amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, as plaintiff was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis on July 29, 2019. See Docket No. 9.

         The Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff brings his civil rights claims in his amended complaint against defendants Dr. Unknown Pewhitt and Nurse Ashley Graham. He does not indicate the capacity under which he is suing defendants.

         Plaintiff states that he was housed in Dunklin County Jail on February 8, 2018. He claims that he is a diabetic and insulin dependent. He states that he explained this to Nurse Ashley Graham. Plaintiff asserts that Nurse Graham told him that his sugar was normal. He states that he told Graham that he had been “locked up three days and of course his sugar was normal because he takes care of himself.” Plaintiff alleges in a conclusory fashion that “I went without my insulin and when they finally checked my sugar it was almost 600 my kidney was hurting my girlfriend brought my diabetic supplies to the county ...


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