Edwards v. Clark et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to serve process on the complaint. Signed by District Judge E. Richard Webber on 4/14/16. (EAB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
UNKNOWN CLARK, et al.,
No. 4:16CV331 ERW
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on review of plaintiff’s amended complaint. Having
reviewed the complaint, the Court finds that defendants must answer it.
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. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense. Id. at 679.
Plaintiff is confined at the St. Louis City Medium Security Institution. Defendants are
correctional officers there.
Plaintiff told defendants that inmate Charles Clemmins had
threatened him and that he was afraid for his safety. Each defendant denied the request. On
January 21, 2016, Clemmins severely beat plaintiff, fracturing his facial bones. Plaintiff had to
be taken to the hospital for treatment. Plaintiff sues defendants in their individual capacities.
To state a failure-to-protect claim, a plaintiff is required to allege that defendants were
aware of facts from which they could infer the existence of a substantial risk of serious harm to
him, they actually drew the inference, and they failed to take reasonable steps to protect him.
See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 836-38, 844 (1994).
Assault by a fellow inmate
constitutes “serious harm.” Jensen v. Clarke, 94 F.3d 1191, 1198 (8th Cir. 1996). A single
incident of violence may, in some circumstances, support a failure-to-protect claim. See Young
v. Selk, 508 F.3d 868, 870-73 (8th Cir. 2007) (discussing potential for substantial risk where
inmate told officials of cellmate’s threats, requested to be removed from cell immediately, said it
was an emergency, and was subsequently attacked).
Under this standard, the Court finds that plaintiff’s allegations state a plausible claim for
relief. As a result, the Court will direct the Clerk to issue process on the complaint.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to serve process on the complaint.
So Ordered this 14th day of April, 2016.
E. RICHARD WEBBER
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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