Laramore v. Washington County Jail
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER : IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF No. 7 ] is GRANTED.IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $1.00 within twenty-one (21) days of the date of th is Order. Plaintiff is instructed to make his remittancepayable 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 - See footnote) IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to issue process on defendants Shannon Thompson, Kevin Snow, and Detective Unknown Barton. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants Zach Jacobson, Steve Rhine, and Brandon Thomlinson are DISMISSED without prejudice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiffs official-capacity claims, grievance claims, and access-to-the-courts claims are DISMISSED without prejudice. An Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed separately.. Signed by District Judge John A. Ross on 8/9/17. (KKS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
WASHINGTON COUNTY JAIL, et al.,
No. 4:17-CV-1618 JAR
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff, a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed plaintiffs financial information, the Court assesses a partial
initial filing fee of $1.00. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b); Henderson v. Norris, 129 F.3d 481(8th Cir.
1997). Additionally, after review of the complaint, the Court will order the Clerk to serve
process on defendants Shannon Thompson, Kevin Snow, and Unknown Barton.
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 is detained in the Washington County Jail (the "Jail"). He suffers from a heart
condition for which he requires regular medication. Upon his arrival at the Jail, he was not given
his heart medicine for thirty days. He was without his other medications for sixty days. On June
15, 2017, he was taken to the hospital for shortness of breath and hypertension. The doctor who
treated him recommended a follow-up with a cardiologist. Defendant Kevin Snow told plaintiff
he would not be allowed to schedule the follow-up because "we don't do that."
Plaintiff alleges that he filed several grievances regarding the denial of medical treatment,
but defendants Snow, Steve Rhine, and Unknown Barton refused to respond to them.
Plaintiff further alleges that the Jail is designed to hold twenty-eight inmates, but the
average population has been fifty-five since plaintiff arrived there. He has had to share a fourman cell with up to fifteen other inmates. The cells are filthy, and plaintiff has not had access to
a towel or cleaning supplies, among other things. His medical condition has worsened as a
result. Plaintiff complained to defendants Barton, Snow, and Shannon Thompson about the
conditions, but they refused to intervene. He says Rhine, Snow, and Barton threw his grievances
on the matter in the trash.
Plaintiff requested access to legal research materials from Zach Jacobson, Thompson,
Rhine, and Snow. Defendants denied his requests.
Plaintiff has alleged non-frivolous claims against defendants Shannon Thompson, Kevin
Snow, and Unknown Barton in their individual capacities for medical mistreatment and
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Therefore, the Court will order the Clerk to serve
them with process.
Naming a government official in his or her official capacity is the equivalent of naming
the government entity that employs the official. Will v. Michigan Dep 't ofState Police, 491 U.S.
58, 71 (1989). To state a claim against a municipality or a government official in his or her
official capacity, a plaintiff must allege that a policy or custom of the government entity is
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 a government entity was responsible for the alleged violations of plaintiffs
constitutional rights. Therefore, plaintiffs official-capacity claims are dismissed.
Plaintiffs allegations that defendants did not respond to his grievances do not state a
plausible claim for relief. See George v. Smith, 501 F. 3d 605, 609 (7th Cir. 2007) ("Only
persons who cause or participate in the [constitutional] violations are responsible. Ruling against
a prisoner on an administrative complaint does not cause or contribute to the violation."). There
is no allegation that the failure to respond to the grievances caused or contributed to cause a
As a result, the grievance claims against defendants Snow, Rhine,
Barton, and Thompson are dismissed.
"To state a claim [for denial of meaningful access to the courts], inmates must assert that
they suffered an actual injury to pending or contemplated legal claims." Myers v. Hundley, 101
F.3d 542, 544 (8th Cir. 1996).
Alleging theoretical inadequacies is insufficient. Inmates must instead show, for
example, that a complaint that they prepared was dismissed due to a technical
requirement that a library's inadequacies prevented them from knowing, or that a
library was so inadequate that it prevented them from filing a complaint for
actionable harm at all.
Id Plaintiff has not alleged any such facts. As a result, his First Amendment claims against
defendants Jacobsen, Thompson, Rhine, and Snow are dismissed.
Plaintiff has not demonstrated that defendants Jacobson, Rhine, or Thomlinson were
personally responsible for the denial of medical care or overcrowding at the Jail, which are the
only claims that survive review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). Therefore, they must be dismissed.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF
No. 7] is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $1.00 within
twenty-one (21) 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 issue process on defendants
Shannon Thompson, Kevin Snow, and Detective Unknown Barton.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants Zach Jacobson, Steve Rhine, and
Brandon Thomlinson are DISMISSED without prejudice.
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 plaintiffs official-capacity claims, grievance claims,
and access-to-the-courts claims are DISMISSED without prejudice.
An Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed separately.
Dated this 9th day of August, 2017.
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