Johnson v. St. Louis City Justice Center
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. # 3 ] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall pay an initial filing fee of $20.23 within thirty (30) days of the date of thi s 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 proc eeding. 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 District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 3/11/14. (JWD)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
SEAN M. JOHNSON,
ST. LOUIS CITY JUSTICE
CENTER, et al.,
No. 4:14CV112 RWS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff (registration no.
9403), an inmate at St. Louis City Justice Center, for leave to commence this action
without payment of the required filing fee. 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 $20.23.
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
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
$101.17, and an average monthly balance of $14.52. Plaintiff has insufficient funds
to pay the entire filing fee. Accordingly, the Court will assess an initial partial filing
fee of $20.23, 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
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.
Plaintiff, an inmate at the St. Louis City Justice Center, brings this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his civil rights. Named as
defendants are the St. Louis City Justice Center, the “Mental Health Department” of
the Justice Center and Dr. Siddiqui.
Plaintiff claims that he suffers from schizophrenia, for which he needs
medication. He states that he was provided a medication for his condition at the time
he arrived at the Justice Center and beyond, but that over time, he has started to
believe that the medication he is receiving is not assisting his mental health to the
fullest extent it could be. Plaintiff claims that he has discussed a change in
medication with Dr. Siddiqui but that the doctor has declined to change the
medication. He claims that Dr. Siddiqui has instead offered to increase the dosage
on the medication he is currently receiving.
Plaintiff asserts that the “Mental Health Department” at the Justice Center and
Dr. Siddiqui have been deliberately indifferent to his mental health needs in violation
of his civil rights because they refuse to give him the same medication he was
receiving from his other health providers when he was “on the outside.” Plaintiff
seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief for the alleged violations of his civil
Plaintiff’s claim against the St. Louis City Justice Center, and its “Mental
Health Department” is legally frivolous because the Justice Center is not a suable
entity. Ketchum v. City of West Memphis, Ark., 974 F.2d 81, 82 (8th Cir. 1992)
(departments or subdivisions of local government are “not juridical entities suable as
such.”); Catlett v. Jefferson County, 299 F. Supp. 2d 967, 968-69 (E.D. Mo. 2004).
Moreover, the complaint is silent as to whether defendant Siddiqui is being
sued in his official or individual capacity. 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). To state a claim against an official in his or her official capacity,
plaintiff must allege that a policy or custom of Dr. Siddiqui’s employer - Corizon, Inc.
- is responsible for the alleged constitutional violation. Monell v. Dep’t of Social
Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978). The instant complaint does not contain any
allegations that a policy or custom of Corizon, Inc. was responsible for the alleged
violations of plaintiff’s constitutional rights. As such, plaintiff’s complaint has failed
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Even if plaintiff’s complaint had stated an individual capacity claim against Dr.
Siddiqui, he still would not have stated a claim against him for deliberate indifference
to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. “To prevail on an Eighth
Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to serious medical needs, an inmate must
allege that he suffered from one or more objectively serious medical needs, and that
prison officials actually knew of but deliberately disregarded those needs.” Roberson
v. Bradshaw, 198 F.3d 645, 647 (8th Cir. 1999).
For a claim of deliberate
indifference, “the prisoner must show more than negligence, more even than gross
negligence, and mere disagreement with treatment decisions does not rise to the level
of a constitutional violation.” Estate of Rosenberg v. Crandell, 56 F.3d 35, 37 (8th
Cir. 1995). Plaintiff’s mere disagreement with the treatment he is being provided by
Dr. Siddiqui is simply not enough to state a claim under the Eighth Amendment, as
plaintiff admits that he is actually being provided treatment for his illness by Dr.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma
pauperis [Doc. #3] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall pay an initial filing fee
of $20.23 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 11th day of March, 2014.
RODNEY W. SIPPEL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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