Hunter v. Lincoln County Jail et al
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause process to issue upon the amended complaint, because it is legally frivolous and fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all pending motions are DENIED as moot. A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order. 6 Signed by District Judge Henry E. Autrey on 12/7/12. (CLA)
U NITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
RICHARD LEE HUNTER,
LINCOLN COUNTY JAIL,
No. 4:12CV1775 TCM
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court upon review of plaintiff’s amended complaint
[Doc. #11], which plaintiff filed in response to the Court’s Memorandum and Order
of October 30, 2012 [Doc. #10]. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that
this action should be dismissed, without prejudice, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may 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 against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis in either
law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989). An action fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). 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 proffered conclusion is the most plausible or whether
it is more likely that no misconduct occurred. Id. at 1950, 1951-52.
The Amended Complaint
Plaintiff, an inmate at the Western Missouri Diagnostic Center, seeks monetary
relief in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against the Lincoln County Jail (“the Jail”).
Plaintiff alleges that on June 10, 2012, while he was incarcerated at the Jail, he was
attacked by another inmate and thereby sustained serious physical injuries. Plaintiff
claims that prior to the attack, the Jail had failed to provide him “requested protective
custody” and had attempted, but failed, to fix the faulty door to his cell. Plaintiff
states that after the attack, a nurse cleaned a laceration above his right eyebrow and
abrasions on his back, but the Jail, medical staff, and corrections officers refused his
requests to see a doctor. Plaintiff believes he needs an x-ray of his back and neck,
because he is in chronic pain and is experiencing migraines, muscle spasms, and
“popping” in his neck and back. He states that he is currently on medication for pain.
Having carefully reviewed the amended complaint, the Court will dismiss this
action pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B). Plaintiff’s claims against the Lincoln County Jail
are legally frivolous, because jails are not suable entities. See Lair v. Norris, 32 Fed.
Appx. 175, 2002 WL 496779 (8th Cir. 2002); Alsbrook v. City of Maumelle, 184
F.3d 999, 1010 (8th Cir. 1999)(en banc)(§ 1983 suit cannot be brought against state
agency), cert. dismissed, 529 U.S. 1001 (2000); Marsden v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons,
856 F. Supp. 832, 836 (S.D.N.Y. 1994)(jails are not entities amenable to suit).
Moreover, even if the Court were to liberally construe the allegations as
including unnamed medical staff and correctional officers, those allegations would
have to be interpreted as including official-capacity claims. See Egerdahl v. Hibbing
Community College, 72 F.3d 615, 619 (8th Cir. 1995)(where a complaint is silent
about defendant’s capacity, Court must interpret the complaint as including officialcapacity claims); 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. Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police,
491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). To state a claim against a municipality or a government
official in his or her official capacity, a plaintiff must allege that a policy or custom
of the government entity is responsible for the alleged constitutional violation.
Monell v. Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978). The instant
amended complaint, however, does not contain any allegations that a policy or custom
of a government entity was responsible for the alleged violations of his constitutional
rights. For these reason, the Court will dismiss this action, without prejudice.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause
process to issue upon the amended complaint, because it is legally frivolous and fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that all pending motions are DENIED as moot.
A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order.
Dated this 7th day of December, 2012.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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