Johnston v. Northeast Correctional Center et al
OPINION MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion (Supplement) to amend his complaint [Doc. #17] is DENIED without prejudice. Signed by District Judge Henry E. Autrey on 4/15/13. (CLA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
ISAAC A. JOHNSTON,
NORTHEAST CORR. CENTER, et al., )
No. 2:12CV72 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Before the Court is a document filed as a “supplemental complaint,” on
March 15, 2013. [Doc. #17]. The Court will interpret plaintiff’s document as a
post-dismissal motion to file an amended complaint.
Plaintiff, an inmate at the Southeast Correctional Center, brought the instant
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights during
his incarceration at Northeast Correctional Center (“NECC”). Specifically,
plaintiff alleged that defendants used excessive force when removing him from his
cell during his incarceration at NECC. Named as defendants in this action were
two correctional officers and NECC. On December 19, 2012, the Court dismissed
this action as legally frivolous due to plaintiff’s failure to allege capacity in his
complaint.1 Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal on January 7, 2013.
It appears that plaintiff placed his “supplemental complaint” in the prison
mailing system at SECC and mailed it to the United States District Court, Western
District of Missouri, on February 21, 2013. It is not entirely clear whether
plaintiff intended to file his complaint as a new action in the Western District of
Missouri or not2, but at any rate, the Western District noted that plaintiff had
placed this Court’s case number on the complaint, so it did not open a new case
for plaintiff, but instead decided at some point to send the pleading to this Court to
be filed. This Court did not receive the “supplemental complaint” until March 15,
2013, and it was not actually filed in our Court’s electronic case-filing system until
March 20, 2013.
Where a “complaint is silent about the capacity in which [plaintiff] is suing
defendant, [a district court must] interpret the complaint as including only officialcapacity 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 Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). “[N]either a State
nor its officials acting in their official capacities are ‘persons’ under § 1983.” Id.
As a result, the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted
The “supplemental complaint” was drafted on a Western District of
Missouri Civil Complaint Form. However, plaintiff placed this Court’s case
number on the complaint.
The Court has reviewed plaintiff’s supplemental pleading and although it
appears to fix his prior pleading errors, this Court lacks jurisdiction to grant
plaintiff’s motion to amend his complaint at this time. The District Court lost
jurisdiction to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals when plaintiff filed his Notice
of Appeal on January 7, 2013. As such, it must deny plaintiff’s motion to amend
his complaint, without prejudice.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to amend his complaint
[Doc. #17] is DENIED without prejudice.
Dated this 15 day of April, 2013.
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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