Harris v. Hill
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 6 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis under 42:1983 (prisoner) filed by Plaintiff Jim Harris, Jr.; motion is GRANTED. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 6] i s GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $1.00 within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order. Plaintiff is instructed to make his remittance payable to "Clerk, United States District Court,&q uot; 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 is directed to serve defendant Nina Hill with process in accordance with the Court's agreement with Corizon, Inc. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, along with her responsive pleading, defendant Nina hill must show cause why plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction should not be granted. IT IS F URTHER ORDERED that defendants Paula Huffman-Reed and Corizon, Inc. are DISMISSED without prejudice. An Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed separately. (Initial Partial Filing Fee due by 10/6/2016.) Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 9/6/16. (CSG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JIM HARRIS, JR.,
NINA HILL, et al.,
No. 1:16-CV-83 SNLJ
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff, a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed plaintiff’s financial information, the Court assesses a partial
initial filing fee of $1.00.1 See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b); Henderson v. Norris, 129 F.3d 481, 484
(8th Cir. 1997).
Standard of Review
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), 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 for relief under § 1983, a complaint must plead more than “legal conclusions”
and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere
conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
A plaintiff must
demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.”
Id. at 679. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
The Court is aware that plaintiff has three “strikes” under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). See Harris v.
Russell, No. 4:13-CV-891-TCM; Harris v. Russell, No. 4:13-CV-317-JAR (E.D. Mo.); Harris v.
Dodson, No. 1:12-CV-196-SNLJ; Harris v. Pemiscot County Sheriff’s Dep’t, No. 1:10-CV-151RWS. However, as is explained below, the Court finds that plaintiff has shown that his is in
imminent risk of serious physical harm, and so, granting in forma pauperis status is appropriate.
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 on its judicial experience and
common sense. Id. at 679.
Plaintiff brings this action against Nina Hill, Nurse Practitioner; Paula Huffman-Reed,
Assistant Warden; and Corizon, Inc. Plaintiff says he has a medical lay-in for bottom walk and
bottom bunk because he is handicapped. He alleges he has a gunshot injury to his cervical spine,
nerve damage, and muscle loss. He claims defendant Hill terminated his lay-in and assigned him
to the top walk and the top bunk. He says he has fallen more than once as a result.
Plaintiff alleges that defendant Huffman-Reed knew about his complaint but did not do
anything about it.
The Court is required to give plaintiff’s allegations the benefit of a liberal construction.
See Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777, 787 (8th Cir. 2015) (“When we say that a pro se complaint
should be given liberal construction, we mean that if the essence of an allegation is discernible . .
. then the district court should construe the complaint in a way that permits the layperson’s claim
to be considered within the proper legal framework.”) (quotations and citation omitted).
Under this standard, the Court finds that the complaint states a plausible claim for relief
against defendant Hill. The Court further finds that plaintiff has alleged facts that show he is in
imminent danger of serious physical injury due to the serious nature of his injuries and the
possible trauma that could result from a fall. Therefore, the Court will order the Clerk to serve
defendant with process.
“Liability under § 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct responsibility for, the alleged
deprivation of rights.” Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir. 1990); see Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009) (“Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to Bivens and
§ 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the
official’s own individual actions, has violated the Constitution.”); Camberos v. Branstad, 73
F.3d 174, 176 (8th Cir. 1995) (“a general responsibility for supervising the operations of a prison
is insufficient to establish the personal involvement required to support liability.”). Plaintiff’s
allegations do not show that defendant Huffman-Reed was directly responsible for his cell
assignment. As a result the complaint does not state a plausible claim against her.
In order to state a claim against Corizon, plaintiff must allege that there was a policy,
custom, or official action that caused an actionable injury. Sanders v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 984
F.2d 972, 95-76 (8th Cir. 1993). There are no such allegations, and so the Court will dismiss
Corizon from this action.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF
No. 6] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $1.00
within thirty (30) days of 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
Prisoners must pay the full amount of the $350 filing fee. 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. The agency having custody of the prisoner will deduct the payments and forward them to the
Court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to serve defendant Nina Hill
with process in accordance with the Court’s agreement with Corizon, Inc.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, along with her responsive pleading, defendant Nina
hill must show cause why plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction should not be granted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants Paula Huffman-Reed and Corizon, Inc.
are DISMISSED without prejudice.
An Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed separately.
Dated this 6th day of September, 2016.
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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