United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court upon review of a complaint filed
by plaintiff Mason Ibra Garrett, who presently resides at the
Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center
(“MSLPC”). For the reasons explained below, the Court
will allow plaintiff to proceed in forma pauperis in these
proceedings, and will dismiss the complaint without
action originated in the United States District Court for the
Western District of Missouri, where the instant complaint was
filed on or about November 21, 2019. On December 2, 2019, the
Honorable Greg Kays entered an order transferring the case to
this Court on the basis of venue. Judge Kays also granted
plaintiff provisional leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
This Court has reviewed plaintiff's motion to proceed in
forma pauperis and the financial information therein, and has
determined to allow plaintiff to continue proceeding in forma
pauperis in this action.
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
the following defendants, all of whom are employed either by
the SLMPC or the Missouri Department of Mental Health
(“MDMH”): treating psychiatrist Dr. Susan
Minchin, social workers Emily Kamp and Jeff Moellen,
dietician Rachel Pulley, Rehabilitation Services Director Jon
Petri, psychologist Erik Hazebrouck, music therapist Chris
Buchmann, quality management employee Matthew Smigell,
forensic psychologist Laura Rosen, Director of Psychology
Debra Luechtefeld, Chief Operating Officer Kimberly Feaman,
Eastern Region Executive Officer Laurent D. Javois, Division
of Behavioral Health Director Richard N. Gowdy, Director Mark
Stringer, and nurse Leah Kaiser. Plaintiff also names
Governor Michael L. Parson as a defendant. Plaintiff sues all
of the defendants in their official capacities.
claims that his due process rights were violated when the
“Department of Mental Health” requested an
extension of time within which to perform a mental health
examination. (ECF No. 1 at 7). Plaintiff alleges this was
done “in the name of Michael L. Parson, Mark Stringer,
Richard N. Gowdy, Laurent D. Javois, Kimberly Feaman, and
upheld by Debra Luechtefeld, Matthew Smigell, after being
presented by the treatment team Dr. Susan Minchin, Chris
Bachmann, Rachel Pulley, Jon Petri, Leah Kaiser, [and
initiated] by Laura Rosen.” Id.
support of this claim, plaintiff alleges he had a
“court order on a case that bears the case no.
18PU-CR01206-01 which stated that no later than 6 months
from 5/22/2019 the Director of the D.M.H., or qualified
designee, shall examine defendant to ascertain (1) whether
the defendant is mentally fit, (2) if not, if the defendant
will attain the mental fitness to proceed.”
Id. at 8. Plaintiff writes: “now if ascertain
means to find out with certainty, then how can one know with
certainty whether I am mentally fit or not without taking the
competency test within the permitted time stipulated within
the court order?” Id. Plaintiff writes
“thus infringing upon the 14th Amendment of the due
process of law” by purposely and knowingly ignoring
“procedural law when the D.M.H. requested an extension
of time without examining to ascertain within the 6 months
provided in the court order.” Id. As relief,
plaintiff seeks dismissal of case number 18PU-CR01206-01,
“a sum of money not exceeding 10 million but no less
than 5 million, ” and release from confinement.
Id. at 9.
seeks to hold the defendants liable under § 1983 for
violating his due process rights by requesting an extension
of time to perform a mental health examination. The Court
will consider whether plaintiff's allegations state a
plausible procedural or substantive due process claim.
establish a procedural due process violation, plaintiff must
show a protected interest, and he must also show that he was
deprived of that interest without sufficient process.
Swipies v. Kofka, 419 F.3d 709, 715 (8th Cir. 2005)
(quotations and citations omitted). “The due process
clause ensures every individual subject to a deprivation the
opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time and in a
meaningful manner.” Id. “The
circumstances of the deprivation dictate what procedures are
necessary to satisfy this guarantee.” Id.
Here, the Court will presume that plaintiff's allegations
show a protected interest. However, plaintiff's
allegations do not establish he was deprived of that interest
without sufficient process. Plaintiff's allegations
establish that the State court ordered the mental health
examination to be performed by November 22, 2019, and that
the “Department of Mental Health” requested a
single extension of time within that period. Plaintiff
alleges nothing permitting the inference he was denied the
opportunity to be ...