Ingrassia v. Schafer et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. Doc. 2 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause process to issue on the instant complaint. Plaintiffs al legations regarding excessive force and violations of his Fourteenth Amendment rights are duplicative of a case currently before this Court. See Ingrassia v. Schafer, 4:11CV2062 AGF (E.D. Mo. 2011). Plaintiffs allegations regarding his First Amend ment rights are frivolous. The instant case will be DISMISSED without prejudice in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915. A separate Order of Dismissal will accompany this Memorandum and Order. Signed by District Judge Charles A. Shaw on 4/11/2014. (RAK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
THOMAS J. INGRASSIA,
KEITH SCHAFER, et al.
No. 4:14-CV-470 CAS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff for leave to commence this
action without prepayment of the filing fee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Upon consideration of
the financial information provided with the motion, the Court finds that plaintiff is financially
unable to pay any portion of the filing fee. As a result, plaintiff will be granted leave to proceed
in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Additionally, the Court has reviewed the
complaint and will dismiss it pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
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 Alacks an arguable basis in either law or fact.@ Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
328 (1989); Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). 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.”
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.A complaint fails to
state a claim if it does not plead Aenough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.@ Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
Plaintiff, a civil detainee at the Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Service
(“SORTS”) in Farmington, Missouri, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging
violations of his civil rights. He names approximately 108 persons as defendants in this action.
Most of the defendants are identified as current employees of SORTS or administrators of the
Missouri Department of Mental Health.
In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that between the time periods of March 2010 and
August 2011, defendants performed or allowed to be performed, chemical or manual restraints
against him which resulted in his unlawful “seclusion” under a “cruel and unusual” behavioral
plan, put in place by the psychiatrist at SORTS, Dr. Englehart.
Mr. Ingrassia is no stranger to our Court, presently having two open cases in this
District.1 In Ingrassia v. Schafer, 4:11CV2062 AGF (E.D. Mo. 2011), plaintiff is currently
litigating claims startlingly similar to those he brings in the instant case. In that case, Mr.
Ingrassia alleges civil rights violations occurring from August 2008 through October 2011,
which includes all times alleged in the instant complaint. Further, in that case, as part of his
claims of excessive force and deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs (against many
of the same defendants as those in this action), plaintiff claims that due to the “unlawful
behavioral plan” put in place by Dr. Englehart, the other defendants have freely used chemical
and manual restraints against him and placed him in seclusion. The issues in that case are
currently under submission before Judge Fleissig on motions brought by defendants for summary
judgment, and she will no doubt review the factual and legal record regarding these issues prior
to making a decision on the pending motions. Thus, there is no reason for plaintiff to bring a
separate lawsuit on this matter before another Judge in this District.
The allegations in the complaint alleging excessive force and violation of plaintiff’s
rights under the Fourteenth Amendment are duplicative of the allegations plaintiff is currently
litigating in Ingrassia v. Schafer, 4:11CV2062 AGF (E.D. Mo. 2011). Plaintiff’s allegations are
directly related to issues pending in his action with Judge Fleissig. As a result, these allegations
of the complaint will be dismissed as duplicative. See Cooper v. Delo, 997 F.2d 376, 377 (8th
In Ingrassia v. Schafer, 4:12CV62 JCH (E.D. Mo. 2012), counsel for defendants is currently appealing, on an
interlocutory basis, the denial of their motion for summary judgment. In that case, plaintiff claims that defendants
have denied him adequate food and nutrition in violation of the 14th Amendment.
To the extent plaintiff alleges violations of his First Amendment rights, these allegations
are entirely conclusory. See Compl. ¶ 126. “Civil rights pleadings should be construed liberally.
At the very least, however, the complaint must contain facts which state a claim as a matter of
law and must not be conclusory.” Frey v. City of Herculaneum, 44 F.3d 667, 671 (8th Cir.
1995). Plaintiff’s allegations brought pursuant to the First Amendment will be dismissed as
frivolous because the complaint fails to allege any facts, which if proved, would afford a basis
for the granting of relief. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis is
GRANTED. [Doc. 2]
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause process to
issue on the instant complaint. Plaintiff’s allegations regarding excessive force and violations of
his Fourteenth Amendment rights are duplicative of a case currently before this Court. See
Ingrassia v. Schafer, 4:11CV2062 AGF (E.D. Mo. 2011). Plaintiff’s allegations regarding his
First Amendment rights are frivolous. The instant case will be DISMISSED without prejudice
in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
A separate Order of Dismissal will accompany this Memorandum and Order.
CHARLES A. SHAW
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 11th day of April, 2014.
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