Watson v. St. Louis City Justice Center et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. (See Full Order.) IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. # 2 ] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $17.49 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.1 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall file an amended complaint in this action within thirty (30) days of the date of this Memorandum and Order. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall mail to plaintiff a Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint form. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if plaintiff fails to comply with this Memorandum and Order, plaintiff's action will be dismissed, without prejudice. Signed by District Judge Catherine D. Perry on 12/5/2016. (Order and Prisoner Civil Rights form packet sent to plaintiff at Algoa Correctional Center this date.)(CBL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
RICHARD DONALD WATSON, JR.,
ST. LOUIS CITY JUSTICE CTR., et al.,
No. 4:16-CV-1561 CDP
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff, a prisoner currently incarcerated at Algoa Correctional Center seeks leave to
proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having
reviewed plaintiff’s financial information, the Court assesses a partial initial filing fee of $17.49,
which is twenty percent of his average monthly deposit. 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, 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.
When reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court accepts the well-pled
facts as true. Furthermore, the Court liberally construes the allegations.
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil
rights during his incarceration at the St. Louis City Justice Center. Specifically, plaintiff asserts
that on October 21, 2014, correctional officer Sonya White was escorting him while he was
handcuffed from his cell through his dorm. He states that defendant White began to curse at him
and punch at him in the head, over and over, and eventually she maced him. Plaintiff claims that
he was handcuffed the entire time.
Plaintiff states that in November of 2014 he was charged with assault on a correctional
officer. Although he does not state for certain in his complaint, he leads the Court to believe the
correctional officer he was charged with assaulting was Sonya White. Plaintiff states that the
charges against him were dropped after “she” testified at his trial.
Plaintiff has not indicated in his complaint the relief he is seeking in this action.
Plaintiff’s claim against the St. Louis City Justice Center is legally frivolous because it
cannot be sued. 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.”).
Additionally, as currently pled, plaintiff’s claim for excessive force against defendant
White does not state a claim for relief because plaintiff has not indicated the capacity under
which he is suing defendant White.
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 City of St.
Louis. Will v. Michigan Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). To state a claim against
the City of St. Louis, plaintiff must allege that a policy or custom of the City of St. Louis was
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 the City of St. Louis was responsible for the alleged violations of plaintiff’s
constitutional rights. As a result, the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
Because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will allow plaintiff to file an amended
complaint on a Court form. Plaintiff shall have thirty (30) days from the date of this Order to file
an amended complaint in accordance with the specific instructions set forth herein.
All claims in an action must be included in one, centralized complaint form, as neither
the court nor defendants wish to search through supplemental and prior pleadings in order to
piece together plaintiff’s claims. Plaintiff is warned that the filing of an amended complaint
replaces the original complaint and all previously-filed pleadings, and so he must include
each and every one of the claims he wishes to pursue in the amended complaint. See, 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, supplements, and/or pleadings that are not
included in the amended complaint will be deemed abandoned and will not be considered.
If plaintiff wishes to sue defendants in their individual capacities, plaintiff must
specifically say so in the amended complaint. If plaintiff fails to sue defendants in their
individual capacities, this action may be subject to dismissal.
If plaintiff fails to file an amended complaint on a Court form within thirty days in
accordance with the Court’s instructions, the Court will dismiss this action without prejudice and
without further notice.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF
No. #2] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $17.49
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 plaintiff shall file an amended complaint in this
action within thirty (30) days of the date of this Memorandum and Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall mail to plaintiff a Prisoner Civil
Rights Complaint form.
Prisoners must pay the full amount of the $350 filing fee. 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. The agency having custody of the prisoner
will deduct the payments and forward them to the Court each time the amount in the account
exceeds $10. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that if plaintiff fails to comply with this Memorandum
and Order, plaintiff’s action will be dismissed, without prejudice.
Dated this 5th day of December, 2016.
CATHERINE D. PERRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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