Reed v. St. Louis City Justice 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 $2.67 within twenty-one (21) days of the da te 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) the statement that the remittance is for an original proceeding. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice. 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.. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 10/18/17. (LGK)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
CALVIN PRINCE REED,
ST. LOUIS CITY JUSTICE CENTER,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the motion of plaintiff Calvin Prince Reed 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
$2.67. 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)(B)(i).
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 a Resident Funds
Inquiry form showing an average monthly balance of $13.36. The Court will therefore assess an
initial partial filing fee of $2.67, 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. The sole named defendant is the
St. Louis City Justice Center. Plaintiff alleges: “During the Holy Month of Ramadan, which
started May 27, 2017, the Muslims were treated with disrespect and cruel and unusual
punishment.” (Docket No. 1 at 5). Plaintiff alleges that meals were served late. He also alleges
that they often received “brown bag” dinners that consisted of two bologna sandwiches, tortilla
chips, 2 baby carrots, and a piece of cake, which deprived them of proper protein and nutrients.
He alleges that hot dinners were given after complaints were made about the brown bag meals,
but one of the dinners did not look or smell edible. Finally, plaintiff alleges that he was not
permitted to move to a different cell after he complained that explicit drawings and offensive
writing on his cell wall hampered his ability to pray.
The complaint will be dismissed. Relevant precedent establishes that a department or
subdivision of local government is not a “juridical,” or suable, entity under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Ketchum v. City of West Memphis, Ark., 974 F.2d 81, 82 (1992). Therefore, plaintiff’s claim
against the St. Louis City Justice Center fails as a matter of law. See 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 City of
St. Louis Justice Center, and MSI/Workhouse are legally frivolous because these defendants are
not suable entities”); see also 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 the Court were to construe the complaint as brought against the City of St. Louis
and substitute the municipality as defendant, plaintiff’s allegations would not state a claim of
municipal liability. Liability under § 1983 may attach to a municipality if the constitutional
violation resulted from: (1) an official municipal policy; (2) an unofficial custom; or (3) a
deliberately indifferent failure to train or supervise. Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of City of
New York, 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978), City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388 (1989);
see also Veatch v. Bartels Lutheran Home, 627 F.3d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir. 2010) (explaining that
under § 1983, the plaintiff must demonstrate either that the municipality had a policy or custom
that caused the constitutional violation or that the municipality or a municipal employee
exhibited deliberate indifference to the plaintiff’s constitutional rights by failing to adequately
train or supervise its employees). Here, the complaint contains no such allegations, and the
Court will not assume facts not alleged. See Stone, 364 F.3d at 914-15 (federal courts are not
required to “assume facts that are not alleged, just because an additional factual allegation would
have formed a stronger complaint”).
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 $2.67 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) the statement that the remittance is for
an original proceeding.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice. 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 18th day of October, 2017.
RODNEY W. SIPPEL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?