United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
DAVID C. JEFFERSON, Plaintiff,
LYDA KREWSON, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. BODENHAUSEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the motion of plaintiff
David C. Jefferson for leave to commence this civil action
without prepayment of the required filing fee. (Docket No.
2). Having reviewed the motion and the financial information
submitted in support, the Court finds that it should be
granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
Additionally, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will
direct plaintiff to file an amended complaint.
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, 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 factual
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 brings this civil action against
defendants Lyda Krewson and Alana C. Green. He assets that
the Court has jurisdiction pursuant to the Americans With
Disabilities Act (ADA). (Docket No. 1 at 3).
August 23, 2019, plaintiff states that “the St. Louis
Housing Authority did not perform an occupancy inspection
on…an apartment in which [he is] already being billed,
and owe, Ameren Missouri.” (Docket No. 1 at 5). He
further states that the Cahill Apartments, a St. Louis
Housing Authority property, required him to go on a waitlist,
undergo a credit check, and a criminal record check
“before being considered for actual housing.”
Plaintiff notes that he has a “Veterans Affairs Housing
Choice Section 8” voucher and that he is homeless. He
also states that he is an “unemployed, disabled
seeks $74, 999 in damages.
has filed this civil action alleging that the St. Louis
Housing Authority did not perform an occupancy inspection on
his apartment on August 23, 2019, and that he has been put on
a waitlist in order to receive housing. Having reviewed the
complaint, the Court has determined that it is subject to
dismissal. However, as plaintiff is proceeding pro se, he
will be allowed to file an amended complaint.
Deficiencies in Complaint
noted above, in order to state a claim, a plaintiff must
demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than
a “mere possibility of misconduct.”
Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 679. Plaintiff has failed to
comply with this requirement.
plaintiff alleges that the St. Louis Housing Authority failed
to make an occupancy inspection on August 23, 2019, he
presents no facts to explain what the inspection entailed, or
how the Housing Authority's failure to conduct the
inspection injured him. Similarly, he has not established why
his placement on a St. Louis Housing Authority waitlist is
wrongful. “The essential function of a complaint under
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is to give the opposing
party fair notice of the nature and basis or grounds for a
claim, and a general indication of the type of litigation
involved.” Topchian v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,
N.A., 760 F.3d 843, 848 (8th Cir. 2014). The
reviewing court looks at the well-pleaded facts in the
complaint to determine whether the pleading party has
provided the necessary notice, thus stating a claim in the
manner contemplated by the Federal Rules. Parkhill v.
Minnesota Mut. Life Ins. Co., 286 ...