Hackman v. Town and Country Police Department et al
OPINION MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff=s motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. #2] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause process to issue in this case, because the complaint is legally frivolous and fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order. 2 Signed by District Judge Henry Edward Autrey on 3/13/15. (CLA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
TOWN AND COUNTRY POLICE
DEPARTMENT, et al.,
No. 4:14CV2124 DDN
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motion of Joshua Hackman
(registration no. 1191153) for leave to commence this action without payment of
the required filing fee [Doc. #2]. Because plaintiff states that he is unable to
obtain an inmate account statement due to the fact that he has not been incarcerated
for six months, the Court will grant the motion and will not assess an initial partial
filing fee. In addition, the Court will dismiss this case 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 Ait 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 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).
In reviewing a pro se complaint under ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must give
the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520 (1972). The Court must also weigh all factual allegations in favor of the
plaintiff, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless.
Denton v. Hernandez, 504
U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992).
Plaintiff, an inmate at the Eastern Reception and Diagnostic Correctional
Center, seeks monetary relief in this 42 U.S.C. ' 1983 action against the Town and
Country Police Department and Unknown Messler (Police Officer).
alleges that Officer Messler violated his Eighth Amendment rights on January 31,
2012. Plaintiff states that he was in a car accident, and rather than take him to the
hospital for treatment of his serious physical injuries, defendant Messler arrested
plaintiff and took him to the Town and Country Jail.
Plaintiff states that after
being released on bond, he went to Missouri Baptist Hospital, where he was treated
for a concussion and contusions to his shoulder.
Plaintiff brings this action against defendant Unknown Messler in his
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 official-capacity 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 complaint does not contain
any allegations that a policy or custom of a government entity was responsible for
the alleged violations of plaintiff=s constitutional rights.
As a result, the
complaint is legally frivolous and fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted as to defendant Unknown Messler.
The complaint is also legally frivolous as to the Town and Country Police
Department, because police departments are not suable entities under ' 1983. See
Ketchum v. City of West Memphis, Ark., 974 F.2d 81, 82 (8th Cir. 1992); see also
De La Garza v. Kandiyohi County Jail, 2001 WL 987542, at *1 (8th Cir. 2001)
(sheriff's departments and police departments are not usually considered legal
entities subject to suit under ' 1983; local governments can be liable under ' 1983
only if injury stems from official policy or custom).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff=s motion to proceed in forma
pauperis [Doc. #2] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or
cause process to issue in this case, because the complaint is legally frivolous and
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and
Dated this 13th day of March, 2015
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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