Woods v. Wallace et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 2 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis under 42:1983 (prisoner) filed by Plaintiff Jordan Armand Woods; motion is GRANTED. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperi s [Doc. #2] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall pay an initial partial filing fee of $6.88 within thirty (30) days from the date of this Order. Plaintiff is instructed to make his remittance payable to "Clerk, United Stat es District Court," and to include upon it: (1) his name; (2) his prison registration number; (3) the case number; and (4) the statement that the remittance is for an original proceeding. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall submit an amen ded complaint, in accordance with the instructions set forth in this Memorandum and Order, no later than thirty (30) days from the date of this Memorandum and Order. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall mail to plaintiff three (3) blan k forms for the filing of a prisoner civil rights complaint. Plaintiff may request additional forms from the Clerk, as needed. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if plaintiff fails to timely comply with this Order, the Court may dismiss this action, without prejudice and without further notice. (Amended/Supplemental Pleadings due by 3/24/2017, Initial Partial Filing Fee due by 3/24/2017.) Signed by District Judge Carol E. Jackson on 2/22/17. (CSG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JORDAN ARMAND WOODS,
IAN WALLACE, et al.,
No. 1:17-cv-01 CEJ
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Jordan Armand Woods, an
inmate at Southeast Correctional Center (“SECC”), for leave to commence this action without
prepayment of the filing fee.
Having reviewed Plaintiff’s financial information, the Court
assesses a partial initial filing fee of $6.88. In addition, the Court will require Plaintiff to submit
an amended complaint.
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
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 sixmonth 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 his account. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The agency having custody of the prisoner will forward these monthly
payments to the Clerk of Court each time the amount in the prisoner’s account exceeds $10.00,
until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.
Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit and a certified copy of his prison account statement
for the six-month period immediately preceding the submission of his complaint. A review of
plaintiff’s account indicates an average monthly deposit of $34.38, and an average monthly
balance of $5.06. Plaintiff has insufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee. Accordingly, the
Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $6.88, which is 20 percent of plaintiff’s average
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)
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 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 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, inter alia, draw upon judicial
experience and common sense. Id. at 679.
When conducting initial review pursuant to § 1915(e)(2), the Court must give the
complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
However, this does not mean that pro se complaints may be merely conclusory. 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 (8th Cir. 2004) (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. U.S., 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993).
While much of the complaint is illegible, it is clear that plaintiff has named five
defendants in this action. Also, it appears plaintiff attempts to allege multiple constitutional
violations occurring on various dates in 2013 and 2014, relating to transfers from various prisons
within the Missouri Department of Corrections. The Court has been able to discern, for example,
that plaintiff is referring to his time in MECC, SECC and NECC. Plaintiff also refers to time
spent in “Pacific, Missouri. A civil plaintiff may not bring multiple claims against multiple
parties, nor can he bring claims in the same lawsuit relating to transactions or occurrences that
arose in different places.1
In addition to the aforementioned, it appears that plaintiff simply lists the defendants’
names in the “Statement of Claim” portion of the complaint without specifying what each
defendant personally did to violate his constitutional rights. “Liability under § 1983 requires a
Rule 18(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states, AA party asserting a claim to relief as
an original claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, may join, either as independent
or as alternate claims, as many claims, legal, equitable, or maritime, as the party has against an
Rule 20(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows for joinder of defendants if Aany
right to relief is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative with respect to or
arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences; and . . .
any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.@
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
Finally, plaintiff fails to specify the capacity in which he intends to sue the defendants.
Where a “complaint is silent about the capacity in which [plaintiff] is suing defendant, [a district
court must] interpret the complaint as including only official-capacity claims.” Egerdahl v.
Hibbing Community College, 72 F.3d 615, 619 (8th Cir. 1995); Nix v. Norman, 879 F.2d 429,
431 (8th Cir. 1989).
Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will allow him to file an amended
complaint. In so doing, plaintiff should select the transaction or occurrence he wishes to pursue,
in accordance with Rules 18 and 20 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and file an amended
complaint, limiting his facts and allegations to those claims that arise out of the same transaction
or occurrence, or simply put, claims that are related to each other. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 20(a)(2).
If plaintiff wants to bring additional claims against additional defendants, and the claims are not
related to each other, he must file each such claim(s) on a separate complaint form as a new civil
case, and either pay the entire filing fee or move for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Alternatively, plaintiff may choose to select one defendant and set forth as many claims as he has
against that single defendant. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 18(a).
Plaintiff is required to specify whether he intends to sue each defendant in his or her
individual or official capacity. Plaintiff’s failure to sue any defendant in his or her individual
capacity may result in the dismissal of that defendant.
Plaintiff is required to submit his amended complaint on a court-provided form, and the
complaint must comply with Rules 8 and 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff
must type or legibly print the amended complaint. In the “Caption” section, plaintiff shall list
the name of the defendant(s) he wishes to sue. In the "Statement of Claim" section, plaintiff
shall start by typing or legibly printing the defendant’s name and title, and under the name and
title, he shall set forth in separate numbered paragraphs the allegations supporting his claim(s) as
to that particular defendant, as well as the right(s) that he claims that particular defendant
violated. If plaintiff is suing more than one defendant, he shall proceed in this manner with
each of the named defendants, separately setting forth each individual name and under
that name, in numbered paragraphs, the allegations specific to that particular defendant
and the right(s) he claims that particular defendant violated.
The amended complaint must contain short and plain statements showing that plaintiff is
entitled to relief, the allegations must be simple, concise, and direct, and the numbered
paragraphs must each be limited to a single set of circumstances. If plaintiff needs more space,
he may attach additional sheets of paper to the amended complaint and identify them as part of
the “Caption” or “Statement of Claim.” Because the Court is allowing plaintiff to amend his
complaint, it will take no action as to the named defendants at this time.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis [Doc. #2] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall pay an initial partial filing fee of $6.88
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) the statement that the remittance is for
an original proceeding.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall submit an amended complaint, in
accordance with the instructions set forth in this Memorandum and Order, no later than thirty
(30) days from the date of this Memorandum and Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall mail to plaintiff three (3)
blank forms for the filing of a prisoner civil rights complaint. Plaintiff may request additional
forms from the Clerk, as needed.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if plaintiff fails to timely comply with this Order,
the Court may dismiss this action, without prejudice and without further notice.
Dated this 22nd day of February, 2017.
CAROL E. JACKSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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