Bradford v. Saint Louis Justice Criminal Center
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis (Docket No. 2) is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $4.55 within thirty (30) days of the date of t his 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) this case number; and (4) the statement that the remit tance is for an original proceeding. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). A separate order of dismissal will be entered herewith. IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED that an appeal from this dismissal would not be taken in good faith. ( Initial Partial Filing Fee due by 11/13/2017.) Signed by District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr on 10/12/2017. (JMC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
ST. LOUIS CRIMINAL JUSTICE
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Marquis Bradford for leave to
commence this civil action without prepayment of the required filing fee. Having reviewed the
motion and the financial information submitted in support, the Court has determined that plaintiff
lacks sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee, and will assess an initial partial filing fee of
$4.55. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). In addition, for the reasons discussed below, the Court will
dismiss the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), a prisoner bringing a civil action in forma pauperis
is required to pay the full amount of the filing fee. If the prisoner has insufficient funds in his or
her prison account to pay the entire fee, the Court must assess and, when funds exist, collect an
initial partial filing fee of 20 percent of the greater of (1) the average monthly deposits in the
prisoner’s account, or (2) the average monthly balance in the prisoner’s account for the prior sixmonth period. 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). The agency having custody of the prisoner will forward these
monthly payments to the Clerk of Court each time the amount in the prisoner’s account exceeds
$10.00, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id.
In support of the instant motion, Plaintiff submitted an affidavit and an inmate account
statement showing an average monthly balance of $22.73. The Court will therefore assess an
initial partial filing fee of $4.55, which is twenty percent of Plaintiff’s average monthly balance.
Legal Standard on Initial Review
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), 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, inter alia, draw upon judicial
experience and common sense. Id. at 679.
When reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2), the Court must give it the benefit
of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, this does not
mean that pro se complaints may be merely conclusory. 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”). In addition, 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).
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as the sole defendant is
the St. Louis City Justice Center.1 For his statement of claim, plaintiff writes: “City Justice
Center has deprived me as a pretrial detainee, by not providing a balanced meals being house at
Criminal Justice Center.”
(Docket No. 1 at 5).
He seeks injunctive relief and monetary
The complaint is subject to dismissal because it is legally frivolous. Plaintiff names the
St. Louis City Justice Center as the sole defendant. However, jails and local government
detention centers are not suable entities. 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”); see also Ballard v. Missouri, Case No. 4:13-cv-528-JAR (E.D. Mo. Apr. 22,
2013) (holding that “[p]laintiff's claims against the City of St. Louis Department of Public
Safety, the St. Louis County Justice Center, the St. Louis City Justice Center, and
MSI/Workhouse are legally frivolous because these defendants are not suable entities”); Wallace
v. St. Louis City Justice Ctr., Case No. 4:12-cv-2291-JAR (E.D. Mo. Jul. 17, 2013) (dismissing
claims against the St. Louis City Justice Center because it is not a suable entity).
Even if plaintiff had named a proper defendant, the complaint would be dismissed
because it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff merely states, in
conclusory fashion, that defendant has not served a balanced meal. He alleges no facts regarding
why he believes the meals are unbalanced, nor does he allege that his diet is nutritionally
inadequate or has adversely affected his health. Construed liberally, plaintiff’s allegation is
merely the unadorned, “the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me” accusation that the Supreme
Plaintiff actually names as defendant the “St. Louis Justice Criminal Center.” However, there is no such entity.
Because plaintiff is presently incarcerated at the St. Louis City Justice Center and his claim stems from his
confinement, the Court understands him to name the St. Louis City Justice Center as defendant.
Court has found deficient. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Even pro se complaints are required to allege
facts which, if true, state a claim for relief as a matter of law, Martin, 623 F.2d at 1286, and this
Court will not “assume facts that are not alleged, just because an additional factual allegation
would have formed a stronger complaint.” Stone, 364 F.3d at 914-15.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis
(Docket No. 2) is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff must pay an initial filing fee of $4.55 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) this case number; and (4) the statement that the remittance is for an
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this case is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). A separate order of dismissal will be entered herewith.
IT IS HEREBY CERTIFIED that an appeal from this dismissal would not be taken in
Dated this 12th day of October, 2017.
STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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