Williams v. St. Charles County Jail
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER...IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED without prejudice. A separate order of dismissal will be entered herewith. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiffs motion for the appointment of counsel (Docket No. 10 ) is DENIED as moot. IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED that an appeal from this dismissal would not be taken in good faith. Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on 8/7/2017. (NEB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
KEVIN KUNLAY WILLIAMS,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court upon the filing of plaintiff Kevin Kunlay Williams’s
amended complaint. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that the amended complaint
should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Plaintiff filed his original complaint on May 8, 2017. He neither paid the filing fee nor
moved for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and on May 10, 2017, the Court ordered him to
do one or the other. In so doing, the Court instructed plaintiff that, if he chose file a motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis, he must also submit an inmate account statement for the sixmonth period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint. On May 23, 2017, plaintiff
filed a letter and a copy of his inmate account statement. However, he neither paid the filing fee
nor filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and the time for doing so had passed.
However, because it appeared that plaintiff attempted to comply with the Court’s Order, and in
consideration of his pro se status, the Court sua sponte gave him additional time to comply,
which he did.
The Court granted plaintiff’s motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and
conducted initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). The Court noted
that the complaint was subject to dismissal, and allowed plaintiff the opportunity to submit an
amended complaint. In so doing, the Court clearly instructed plaintiff that he was required to set
forth specific factual allegations supporting his claim or claims against each defendant he wished
to sue. The Court also cautioned plaintiff that his failure to make specific allegations against any
defendant would result in the dismissal of his case against that defendant. Plaintiff timely filed
an amended complaint, which the Court now reviews pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
Legal Standard on Initial Review
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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). A
pleading that offers “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause
of action” is insufficient, nor will a complaint suffice if it tenders bare assertions devoid of
“further factual enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
When conducting initial review pursuant to § 1915(e)(2), the Court must accept as true
the allegations in the complaint, and must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, the tenet that a court must accept the
allegations as true does not apply to legal conclusions, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, and affording a
pro se complaint the benefit of a liberal construction does not mean that procedural rules in
ordinary civil litigation must be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed
without counsel. See McNeil v. U.S., 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993). Even pro se complaints are
required to allege facts which, if true, state a claim for relief as a matter of law. Martin v.
Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282, 1286 (8th Cir. 1980); see also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15
(8th Cir. 2004) (federal courts are not required to “assume facts that are not alleged, just because
an additional factual allegation would have formed a stronger complaint”).
The Amended Complaint
In the ten-count amended complaint, plaintiff names as defendant Larry Crawford, the
Director of the St. Charles County Jail. Plaintiff sues Crawford in his individual capacity.
Plaintiff sets forth many claims that he purports to bring on behalf of the inmate population of
In count one, plaintiff alleges that jail staffing and the jail’s KIOSK communication
system are inadequate, causing prisoners to wait for long periods of time. In count two, plaintiff
alleges that the Department of Corrections provides only thin mattresses to prisoners. In count
three, plaintiff alleges that prisoners must wait long periods to visit the jail’s law library, and are
not allowed to use the St. Charles County Courthouse law library. In count four, plaintiff alleges
that a prisoner complained that peanut butter caused him to have hives, but the St. Charles
County Jail Food Administrator continued to offer him peanut butter. Plaintiff also alleges that
the St. Charles County Department of Corrections does not have an allergy specialist on staff,
that St. Charles County refused to allow a prisoner to use allergy medicine from home, and
refused to let the prisoner know whether he was really allergic to peanut butter. In count five,
plaintiff alleges that federal prisoners are housed with state inmates. In count six, plaintiff
alleges that the St. Charles County Department of Corrections does not provide proper medical
care for inmates, and the jail doctor is abusive. In count seven, plaintiff alleges that St. Charles
County Department of Corrections makes excessive profits from inmates via the commissary. In
count eight, plaintiff alleges that the St. Charles County Jail refused to provide prisoners with
copies of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and court local rules. In count nine, plaintiff
alleges that the St. Charles County Department of Corrections feeds prisoners stale bread, and
the Food Department plays games with the prisoners by ignoring various dietary restrictions and
prisoner health issues. Plaintiff also alleges that prisoners must pay high postage prices or mail
will be returned to the sender. In count ten, plaintiff alleges that the St. Charles County
Department of Corrections does not provide services for paying a legal assistant, and should
allow prisoners to withdraw money from their trust funds at any time.
On August 3, 2017, plaintiff filed a document titled “Additional Statement of Claim &
Facts to the Above Cause” (hereafter “Additional Statement”) (Docket No. 11).1
plaintiff purports to bring additional claims on behalf of prisoners at the jail. He alleges, inter
alia, that the KIOSK system makes it difficult for prisoners to file and pursue grievances, and to
prove that they have done so. Plaintiff also alleges that he personally asked to “file a request to
the jail administration requesting for a copy of the request sent to the social caseworker
department of Saint Charles County Department of Correction,” but that his request was denied
with the statement “sorry we do not provide such services.” (Id. at 2-3).
In the amended complaint, plaintiff does not expressly allege that he personally suffered
any loss. Instead, he refers to the inmate population as a whole, and also at times to an
unidentified prisoner. Plaintiff lacks standing to bring claims alleging mistreatment of other
inmates. Instead, he must allege a personal loss. See Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337
(8th Cir. 1985). Further, plaintiff is not a licensed attorney, and is not authorized to assert
constitutional claims on behalf of others. See 28 U.S.C. § 1654.
In the Additional Statement, plaintiff again purports to bring claims on behalf of other
inmates, but he also alleges that he was denied copies of his “request sent to the social
caseworker department of Saint Charles County Department of Correction.” (Docket No. 11 at
2-3). To the extent plaintiff can be understood to allege a deficiency in the prison’s grievance
Plaintiff did not file a motion for leave to file an amended pleading. Instead, it appears he is attempting to amend
the amended complaint via interlineation, or is requesting that the Court add additional claims to this action without
providing the Court with a pleading that includes all claims he wishes to pursue. The Court generally does not
permit amendments via interlineation. However, the Court will consider whether the Additional Statement would
state any claims for relief and justify permitting plaintiff leave to file a second amended complaint.
procedure, such claim would be subject to dismissal. An inmate grievance procedure is not
constitutionally required, and if a state elects to provide one, violations of its procedures do not
give rise to a § 1983 claim. Spencer v. Moore, 638 F. Supp. 315, 316 (E.D. Mo. 1986). To the
extent plaintiff can be understood to allege an access to courts claim, such claim would be
subject to dismissal because plaintiff does not allege that he suffered an actual injury to pending
or contemplated legal claims. See Myers v. Hundley, 101 F.3d 542, 544 (8th Cir. 1996).
Therefore, the Court concludes that the Additional Statement fails to set forth any cognizable
claims, and provides no basis to permit plaintiff leave to file a second amended complaint.
In count four, plaintiff claims that a prisoner was offered peanut butter despite his
complaint that peanut butter gave him hives. To the extent plaintiff can be understood to allege
this claim on his own behalf, and to the extent plaintiff can also be understood to allege claims
on his own behalf in counts one through three and counts five through ten, such claims are
subject to dismissal because plaintiff fails to allege that the defendant personally participated in
or was directly responsible for any alleged deprivation of rights. See Madewell v. Roberts, 909
F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir. 1990) (liability under § 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct
responsibility for, the alleged deprivation of rights); Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1338 (8th
Cir. 1985) (claim not cognizable under § 1983 where plaintiff fails to allege defendant was
personally involved in or directly responsible for incidents that injured him). Plaintiff merely
listed the defendant’s name in the caption of the amended complaint without alleging he engaged
in any specific conduct. This is insufficient. See Potter v. Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir.
1974) (“Where a complaint alleges no specific act or conduct on the part of the defendant and the
complaint is silent as to the defendant except for his name appearing in the caption, the
complaint is properly dismissed, even under the liberal construction to be given pro se
complaints”); see also Krych v. Hvass, 83 F. App’x 854, 855 (8th Cir. 2003) (affirming dismissal
of pro se complaint against defendants who were merely listed as defendants in the caption and
there were no allegations of constitutional harm against them).
Plaintiff may have intended to allege that Crawford is liable to him because he holds an
administrative or supervisory position.
However, the theory of respondeat superior is
inapplicable in § 1983 claims. Boyd v. Knox, 47 F.3d 966, 968 (8th Cir. 1995) (respondeat
superior theory inapplicable in § 1983 cases). Plaintiff was given clear instructions about the
necessity of setting forth specific factual allegations against each defendant he wished to sue, and
cautioned that his failure to do so would result in the dismissal of his case against that defendant.
For all of the foregoing reasons, the Court will dismiss this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. '
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED without prejudice.
separate order of dismissal will be entered herewith.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion for the appointment of counsel
(Docket No. 10) is DENIED as moot.
IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED that an appeal from this dismissal would not be taken in
Dated this 7th day of August, 2017.
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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