Williams v. Shannon County Jail et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 2 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis under 42:1983 (prisoner) filed by Jimmy Darel Williams motion is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause process to issue, because th e complaint is legally frivolous and fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order. Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 8/31/15. (CSG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JIMMY DAREL WILLIAMS,
SHANNON COUNTY JAIL, et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motion of Jimmy Darel Williams
(registration no. 78188) for leave to commence this action without payment of the
required filing fee. Plaintiff’s financial information from the Shannon County Jail
is insufficient to determine that he is able to pay any portion of the filing fee. As
such, the Court will grant him in forma pauperis status at this time, without assessing
an initial partial filing fee. Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the
Court finds that this action should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. '
28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must 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 from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 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 is
malicious if it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing the named defendants 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'd 826 F.2d 1059 (4th Cir. 1987).
action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead
Aenough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.@ Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
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 conclusion is the most plausible or
whether it is more likely that no misconduct occurred. Id. at 1950-52.
Moreover, in reviewing a pro se complaint under ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court
must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520 (1972). The Court must also weigh all factual allegations in favor of
the plaintiff, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v. Hernandez,
504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992).
Plaintiff, an inmate at the Shannon County Jail, seeks monetary relief in this
action for the violation of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. ' 1983. Named
as defendants are the Shannon County Jail and Steve Blunkall (Sheriff). Plaintiff
alleges that he was transferred from Shannon County to Howell County to Texas
County and back to Shannon County and “for the entire time [he was[ denigned [sic]
medical treatment . . . or medical needs such as an eye Dr. and MRI because of
paralys [sic] denigned [sic] by Shannon Co, even after a court order from Shannon
Co.” Plaintiff has attached copies of Texas County Jail Grievance/Request Forms,
indicating he was hospitalized and that plaintiff was complaining he did not receive
all his prescription medications.
Having carefully reviewed the complaint, the Court concludes that dismissal
is warranted under 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B). Plaintiff brings this action against
defendant Steve Blunkall in his official capacity.
See Egerdahl v. Hibbing
Community College, 72 F.3d 615, 619 (8th Cir. 1995) (where a complaint is silent
about defendant=s capacity, Court must interpret the complaint as including
official-capacity claims); Nix v. Norman, 879 F.2d 429, 431 (8th Cir. 1989).
Naming a government official in his or her official capacity is the equivalent of
naming the government entity that employs the official. Will v. Michigan Dep=t of
State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). To state a claim against a municipality or a
government official in his or her official capacity, a plaintiff must allege that a
policy or custom of the government entity is responsible for the alleged
constitutional violation. Monell v. Dep=t of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91
(1978). The instant complaint does not contain any allegations that a policy or
custom of a government entity was responsible for the alleged violations of
plaintiff=s constitutional rights. As a result, the complaint is legally frivolous and
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted as to defendant Blunkall.
In addition, the Shannon County Jail is not a suable entity. See Ketchum v.
City of West Memphis, Ark., 974 F.2d 81, 81 (8th Cir. 1992) (departments or
subdivisions of local government are Anot juridical entities suable as such@); Catlett
v. Jefferson County, 299 F. Supp. 2d 967, 968-69 (E.D. Mo. 2004) (same); Lair v.
Norris, 32 Fed. Appx. 175, 2002 WL 496779 (8th Cir. 2002) (jails are not suable
entities); Alsbrook v. City of Maumelle, 184 F.3d 999, 1010 (8th Cir. 1999) (en
banc) (' 1983 suit cannot be brought against state agency); Marsden v. Fed.
Bureau of Prisons, 856 F. Supp. 832, 836 (S.D.N.Y. 1994) (jails are not entities
amenable to suit). For these reasons, this action will be dismissed. The Court
notes that the dismissal is without prejudice to plaintiff bringing additional claims in
the future if he feels he is being denied his constitutional rights relative to the
medical care and treatment he is receiving.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff=s motion to proceed in forma
pauperis [Doc. #2] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause
process to issue, because the complaint is legally frivolous and fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. See 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B).
A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order.
Dated this 31st day of August, 2015.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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