Brown El v. Skeen et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. (See Full Order.) IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 5 ] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $1.00 within thirty (3 0) 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 is directed to send plaintiff a prisoner civil rights complaint form. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff must file an amended complaint within thirty (30) days of the date of this Order. If plaintiff fails to do so, this action will be dismissed. Signed by District Judge E. Richard Webber on 9/2/2015. (§1983 form and instructions sent to plaintiff this date.)(CBL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
KEITH E. BROWN EL,
MELVIN SKEEN, et al.,
No. 4:15CV1089 ERW
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff, a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. Having reviewed
plaintiff’s financial information, the Court assesses a partial initial filing fee of $1.00. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(b).
Standard of Review
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma
pauperis if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
To state a claim for relief under § 1983, a complaint must plead more than “legal conclusions”
and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere
conclusory statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
A plaintiff must
demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.”
Id. at 679. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. at 678.
Plaintiff, who is Muslim, alleges that defendants interfered with his ability to participate
in Ramadan, a holy month of fasting and prayer. Plaintiff says they prevented him from both
fasting and praying.
Plaintiff has not adequately alleged each defendants’ personal involvement in the
deprivation of his constitutional rights. It is not sufficient to say that “defendants” acted badly
and caused harm. The complaint must state how each individual defendant contributed to the
constitutional violation. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009) (“Because vicarious
liability is inapplicable to Bivens and § 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead that each
Government-official defendant, through the official’s own individual actions, has violated the
Constitution.”); Camberos v. Branstad, 73 F.3d 174, 176 (8th Cir. 1995) (“a general
responsibility for supervising the operations of a prison is insufficient to establish the personal
involvement required to support liability.”). As a result, the complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted.
Additionally, the complaint does not state whether defendants are being sued in their
official or individual capacities. 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). Naming a government official in his
or her official capacity is the equivalent of naming the government entity that employs the
official, in this case the State of Missouri. Will v. Michigan Dep=t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58,
71 (1989). “[N]either a State nor its officials acting in their official capacity are >persons= under
§ 1983.” Id. As a result, the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted for
this reason as well.
Because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will allow him to file an amended
complaint. Plaintiff has thirty days from the date of this Order to do so. Plaintiff is warned
that the filing of an amended complaint replaces the original complaint, and so he must
include each and every one of his claims in the amended complaint. E.g., In re Wireless
Telephone Federal Cost Recovery Fees Litigation, 396 F.3d 922, 928 (8th Cir. 2005). Any
claims from the original complaint that are not included in the amended complaint will be
considered abandoned. Id.
In order to sue defendants in their individual capacities,
plaintiff must specifically say so in the complaint.
If plaintiff fails to file an amended
complaint within thirty days, the Court will dismiss this action without prejudice.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF
No. 5] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $1.00
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
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to send plaintiff a prisoner civil
rights complaint form.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff must file an amended complaint within
thirty (30) days of the date of this Order. If plaintiff fails to do so, this action will be dismissed.
So Ordered this 2nd day of September, 2015.
E. RICHARD WEBBER
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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