McComack v. Madison County Jail et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 5 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis under 42:1983 (prisoner) filed by Plaintiff Brent McComack motion is GRANTED IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall pay an initial partial filing fee of $77.67 wi thin thirty (30) days from the date of this order( Initial Partial Filing Fee due by 11/16/2015.)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 may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 10/14/15. (MRS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MADISON COUNTY JAIL et al.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff’s motion for leave to commence
this action without payment of the required filing fee [Doc. #5]. After reviewing
plaintiff’s financial information, the motion will be granted and plaintiff will be
assessed an initial partial filing fee of $77.67, which is twenty percent of his average
monthly deposit of $388.34 over the past four months. Furthermore, based upon a
review of the complaint [Doc. #1], the Court finds that this action 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 Ait lacks an arguable basis in
either law or in fact.@ Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989). An 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.
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, 51-52.
Moreover, in reviewing a pro se complaint under ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court
must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction.
404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
Haines v. Kerner,
The Court must also weigh all factual allegations in
favor of the plaintiff, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992).
Plaintiff, an inmate at the Algoa Correctional Center, brings this action for
monetary relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ' 1983 against Madison County Jail and
Bobby Spain (sheriff). Plaintiff alleges that during his incarceration at the Madison
County Jail, “the jail staff” would not give him, “Alprazolam,” one of the three
mental health medications he had been taking. Plaintiff states that “jail staff”
allowed “the trustees/other inmates” to have his medicine. Plaintiff states that he
was put in “the hole” for writing grievances on this matter.
Plaintiff brings this action against defendant Bobby Spain 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.
The complaint is also legally frivolous and fails to state a claim against
defendant Madison County Jail, because jails and local government detention
centers are not suable entities. See Marsden v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 856 F.
Supp. 832, 836 (S.D.N.Y. 1994) (jails are not entities amenable to suit); Ketchum v.
City of West Memphis, Ark., 974 F.2d 81, 82 (8th Cir. 1992) (departments or
subdivisions of local government are Anot juridical entities suable as such@); Dean v.
Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1214-15 (11th Cir. 1992) ("[s]heriff's departments and
police departments are not usually considered legal entities subject to suit"); McCoy
v. Chesapeake Correctional Center, 788 F.Supp. 890 (E.D.Va. 1992) (local jails are
not "persons" under ' 1983).
As additional grounds for dismissing this action, the Court notes that to state a
claim under ' 1983, a plaintiff must allege that (1) the defendant acted under color of
state law, and (2) defendant's alleged conduct deprived the plaintiff of a
constitutionally-protected federal right. Schmidt v. City of Bella Villa, 557 F.3d
564, 571 (8th Cir. 2009). In the instant case, plaintiff has failed to allege that
defendant Spain personally participated in the violation of his constitutional rights.
See Jeffers v. Gomez, 267 F.3d 895, 915 (9th Cir. 2001) (§ 1983 liability arises only
upon a showing of personal participation by defendant); Madewell v. Roberts, 909
F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir. 1990) (liability under § 1983 requires a causal link to, and
direct responsibility for, the alleged deprivation of rights); Martin v. Sargent, 780
F.2d 1334, 1338 (8th Cir. 1985) (claim not cognizable under § 1983 where plaintiff
fails to allege defendant was personally involved in or directly responsible for
incidents that injured plaintiff).
For these reasons, this action will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. '
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis [Doc. #5] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall pay an initial partial filing
fee of $77.67 within thirty (30) days from the date of this order. Plaintiff is
instructed to make his remittance payable to "Clerk, United States District Court,"
and to include upon it: (1) his name; (2) his prison registration number; (3) the case
number; and (4) that the remittance is for an original proceeding.
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 may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B).
A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order.
day of ____October__, 2015.
Jean C. Hamilton_______________
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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