Cody v. St. Louis County Department of Justice Services
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis 5 is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall not be required to pay a filing fee at this time. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall file an amended complaint in this action after counsel is appointed. Signed by Magistrate Judge John M. Bodenhausen on 11/28/16. (CAR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
LUKE C. CODY,
ST. LOUIS COUNTY JUSTICE CENTER,
No. 4:16-CV-1632 JMB
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff, Luke Cody, an inmate at St.
Louis County Justice Center, for leave to commence this action without payment of the required
filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that plaintiff does not have sufficient
funds to pay an initial partial filing fee at this time. As such, no filing fee will be assessed at this
time. Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court finds that the Court will
appoint counsel, and counsel will be required to file an amended complaint in this matter.
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 “it lacks an arguable basis in either law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 328 (1989). An action is malicious when it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing
litigants 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 proffered conclusion is the most
plausible or whether it is more likely that no misconduct occurred. Id. at 1950, 1951-52.
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil
rights. Named as the sole defendant in this action is the St. Louis County Justice Center, a nonsuable entity. See 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.”).
Plaintiff asserts that he suffers from Hepatitis C and sleep apnea, and he claims that he
has sought medical assistance from the doctors and nurses at the County Justice Center. Plaintiff
states that since he has been incarcerated at the Justice Center he has not been given his liver
medications or medical assistance for his sleep apnea. Plaintiff additionally alleges that he has
been told by the medical personnel that he will most likely be given medical treatment in
December of 2016. However, plaintiff has evidence that he has been charged for treatment for
the past several months despite never having received any medical treatment. 1
Plaintiff asserts that immediately prior to being incarcerated, he was being treated by a
liver specialist at St. Louis University Medical Center who insisted he had to maintain his
Hepatitis C treatment in order to avoid liver cancer and/or liver cirrhosis. Plaintiff states that he
suffers from constant abdominal pain and that his stomach is bloated without his liver treatment.
In his request for relief, plaintiff seeks to have his prison account cleared of the negative
balance, and he asks for free medical treatment for his Hepatitis C and his sleep apnea.
As noted above, at this time, plaintiff has not named a legally suable defendant in his
complaint. However, his claims for deliberate indifference to his medical care, in violation of
the Eighth Amendment, are serious and troubling. See Alberson v. Norris, 458 F.3d 762, 765-66
(8th Cir. 2006) (A prison official=s deliberate indifference to a prisoner=s serious medical needs
constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.). Therefore, the
Court will appoint counsel in this matter and allow plaintiff’s counsel to amend his complaint.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc.
#5] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall not be required to pay a filing fee
at this time.
Plaintiff has produced a copy of his prison account balance which shows a negative account
balance of -$101.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff shall file an amended complaint in this
action after counsel is appointed.
Dated this 28th day of November, 2016.
/s/ John M. Bodenhausen
JOHN M. BODENHAUSEN
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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