Woods v. Hampton et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 2] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $1.50 within twenty-one (21) 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 a n original proceeding. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to send Plaintiff a prisoner civil rights complaint form. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, no later than twenty-one (21) days from the date ofthis Order, Plaintiff must submit an amen ded complaint. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if Plaintiff does not comply with this Order, the Court will dismiss this action without further proceedings. ( Amended/Supplemental Pleadings due by 2/24/2017., Initial Partial Filing Fee due by 2/24/2017.) Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on 2/3/2017. (JMC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JORDAN ARMAND WOODS,
K. HAMPTON, et al.,
No. 1:17-CV-17 AGF
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 $1.50, which is twenty percent of his average monthly deposit. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b). Additionally, the Court will require Plaintiff to submit an amended complaint.
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, 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 draw on its judicial experience and
common sense. Id. at 679.
When reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court accepts the well-pled
facts as true. Furthermore, the Court liberally construes the allegations.
Plaintiff brings this action against mail room and classification staff at the Southeast
Correctional Center (“SECC”). He says SECC “officials” withheld mail from inmates, including
religious texts and letters from family members.
“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.”). In this case, there are no
factual allegations showing that any of the named Defendants were directly responsible for
denying Plaintiff access to his mail. Therefore, the complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
Additionally, the complaint does not state whether defendants are being sued in their
official or individual capacities. 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). Naming a government official in his
or her official capacity is the equivalent of naming the government entity that employs the
official, in this case the State of Missouri. Will v. Michigan Dep=t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58,
71 (1989). “[N]either a State nor its officials acting in their official capacity are ‘persons’ under
§ 1983.” Id. So, the complaint fails to state a claim for this reason as well.
Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will allow him to file an amended
complaint. Plaintiff is warned that the filing of an amended complaint replaces the original
complaint, and so he must include each and every one of his claims in the amended
complaint. E.g., In re Wireless Telephone Federal Cost Recovery Fees Litigation, 396 F.3d
922, 928 (8th Cir. 2005). Any claims from the original complaint that are not included in
the amended complaint will be considered abandoned. Id. Plaintiff must allege how each
and every Defendant is directly responsible for the alleged harm.
In order to sue
Defendants in their individual capacities, Plaintiff must specifically say so in the complaint.
If Plaintiff fails to sue Defendants in their individual capacities, this action may be subject
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF
No. 2] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $1.50 within
twenty-one (21) 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 send Plaintiff a prisoner civil
rights complaint form.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, no later than twenty-one (21) days from the date of
this Order, Plaintiff must submit an amended complaint.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if Plaintiff does not comply with this Order, the
Court will dismiss this action without further proceedings.
Dated this 3rd day of February, 2017.
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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