Bailey v. CMS

Filing 4

OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis 2 is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall pay an initial filing fee of $1.98 within thirty (30) days of the date o f 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 upon the complaint because the complaint is legally frivolous or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or both. An Order of Dismissal will accompany this Memorandum and Order. Signed by Honorable Henry E. Autrey on 12/2/10. (TRC)

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Bailey v. CMS Doc. 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI EASTERN DIVISION DAVID EUGENE BAILEY, Plaintiff, v. CMS, Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. 4:10CV2093 FRB OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff (registration no. 363348), an inmate at Potosi Correctional Center, for leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee [Doc. #2]. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.98. See 28 U.S.C. 1915(b)(1). Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court finds that the complaint should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B). 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 or her 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 Dockets.Justia.com 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 six-month 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 the prisoner's 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, 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 $9.92, and an average monthly balance of $1.00. Plaintiff has insufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee. Accordingly, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $1.98, which is 20 percent of plaintiff's average monthly deposit. 28 U.S.C. 1915(e) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must 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 from a defendant who is immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis in either law or fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989). An action is malicious if it is -2- undertaken for the purpose of harassing the named defendants and not for the purpose of vindicating a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F. Supp. 458, 461-63 (E.D.N.C. 1987), aff'd 826 F.2d 1059 (4th Cir. 1987). 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. Id. at 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. The Complaint -3- Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights. Plaintiff seeks monetary and injunctive relief from "CMS," or Correctional Medical Services. He claims that "CMS" has refused him entry into a special needs unit for "disabled people." Plaintiff claims that he suffers from a mental health condition and belongs in the special needs unit. Discussion Although naming CMS as a defendant, plaintiff has not alleged facts showing any action by CMS. Instead, his claims against this corporate defendant appear to rely on the doctrine of respondeat superior, as he appears to be blaming CMS for the acts done by unnamed individuals. "It is well settled that respondeat superior cannot be the basis of liability in a 1983 action." Givens v. Jones, 900 F.2d 1229, 1233 (8th Cir.1990). Likewise, plaintiff has not alleged a policy by CMS that caused his injuries. In Sanders v. Sears Roebuck and Company, 984 F.2d 972 (8th Cir.1993), the court held that a corporation acting under color of state law will be held liable under section 1983 only for its own unconstitutional policies or actions. "The proper test is whether there is a policy, custom or action by those who represent official policy that inflicts injury actionable under 1983." Id. at 976. Thus, to state a viable claim against CMS for an injury caused by an unconstitutional policy, plaintiff must allege facts -4- indicating the John Doe doctor acted pursuant to an official CMS policy and the official policy is responsible for plaintiff being denied constitutionally adequate medical care. In this case, plaintiff has not done so. Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. #2] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall pay an initial filing fee of $1.98 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 proceeding. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause process to issue upon the complaint because the complaint is legally frivolous or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or both. An Order of Dismissal will accompany this Memorandum and Order. Dated this 2nd day of December, 2010. HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE -5-

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