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Parham v. Cann

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

January 13, 2020

JULIUS D. PARHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
DARREN CANN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JOHN A. ROSS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Julius D. Parham for leave to commence this civil action without prepayment of the required filing fee. (Docket No. 2). Having reviewed the motion, the Court has determined that plaintiff lacks sufficient funds to pay the filing fee, and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.00. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Additionally, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will dismiss plaintiffs complaint without prejudice.

         28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), a prisoner bringing a civil action in forma pauperis is required to pay the full amount of the filing fee. If the prisoner has insufficient funds in his or her prison account to pay the entire fee, the Court must assess and, when funds exist, collect an initial partial filing fee of 20 percent of the greater of (1) the average monthly deposits in the prisoner's account, or (2) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account for the prior six-month period. After payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner is required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The agency having custody of the prisoner will forward these monthly payments to the Clerk of the Court each time the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10.00, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.

         Plaintiff has not submitted an inmate account statement. As a result, the Court will require plaintiff to pay an initial partial filing fee of $1.00. See Henderson v. Norris, 129 F.3d 481, 484 (8th Cir. 1997) (when a prisoner is unable to provide the Court with a certified copy of his prison account statement, the Court should assess an amount "that is reasonable, based on whatever information the court has about the prisoner's finances"). If plaintiff is unable to pay the initial partial filing fee, he must submit a copy of his inmate account statement in support of his claim.

         Legal Standard on Initial Review

         Under 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).

         When reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2), the Court must give it the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kemer, 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 plaintiffs 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).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff is a pro se litigant currently incarcerated at the Mississippi County Detention Center in Charleston, Missouri. He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint names Prosecutor Darren Cann, Assistant Prosecutor Claire Poley, the Mississippi County Sheriffs Department, and the Mississippi County Detention Center as defendants. (Docket No. 1 at 2-3). Defendants Cann and Poley are sued in both their official and individual capacities.

         Plaintiff alleges that he was "falsely accused" and charged with the Class E felony of criminal nonsupport. (Docket no. 1 at 4).[1] He further states he was "unlawfully arrested and unlawfully detained in the Mississippi County Detention Center from" July 24, 2018 until September 14, 2018. Plaintiff asserts that the felony nonsupport charge was frivolous "based upon the evidence that was presented by the State and [the] investigation done by the State leading up to the decision by the State to file said charges."

         The nonsupport charge against plaintiff was dropped on September 14, 2018, after plaintiff had rejected a plea offer that had been made to him at his preliminary hearing. Plaintiff states that the charge was dropped after his attorneys emailed Prosecutor Poley to advise her that plaintiff had been "maliciously, frivolously!, ] falsely and unlawfully charged by the State of Missouri" by "Mississippi County Prosecuting Attorney Darren Cann."

         Plaintiff claims that the actions of the prosecutors violated his civil rights. (Docket No. 1 at 5). He further asserts that because Prosecutor Cann and Prosecutor Poley investigated the case prior to the filing of the charge, they are not entitled to immunity.

         As a result of his allegedly unlawful arrest and detention, plaintiff states that he suffers mental and psychological disorders, including posttraumatic stress. (Docket No. 1 at 6, 8). He also asserts that his character has been slandered and defamed, and that he has suffered a back injury and hemorrhoids from sitting on metal while incarcerated.

         Plaintiff seeks $1, 500, 000 in punitive damages and $1, 500, 000 in ...


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