Jordan v. City of St. Louis
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 the Clerk of Court shall not issue process upon the complaint because it is legally frivolous and/or it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Signed by District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig on February 13, 2018. (BRP)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
STEVEN ALEXANDER JORDAN,
CITY OF ST. LOUIS,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff Steven Alexander Jordan for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action. Upon consideration of the financial
information provided with the application, the Court finds that plaintiff is financially unable to
pay the filing fee. The motion will therefore be granted. In addition, the Court will dismiss the
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
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 brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil
rights. Plaintiff has named the City of St. Louis as the sole defendant.
Plaintiff states that, on January 19, 2011, he was arrested and charged with murder in the
first degree, assault in the first degree, and two counts of armed criminal action in St. Louis City
Court. He alleges that, in violation of his Constitutional rights, he was subjected to malicious
prosecution, false imprisonment, false arrest, defamation, and assault, and was released two
years later on a nolle prosequi. Plaintiff claims that “a computer contained 64 voice recordings
provided evidence of innocence to the St. Louis City Justice Center Courts before May 5, 2011.
However no immediate process was initiated to restore life or liberty.” (Docket No. 1 at 4).
Plaintiff also alleges that, while incarcerated, he suffered nerve damage to his right shoulder and
hip. However, he does not explain the defendant’s role in the infliction of those injuries. He
seeks monetary damages, and expunction of his record.
Plaintiff has previously filed complaints in this Court alleging these same claims based
upon these same facts. In Jordan v. St. Louis City Justice Center, et al., Case No. 4:17-cv-2681AGF (E.D. Mo. Dec. 4, 2017), plaintiff filed such a complaint against this defendant and three
other defendants. On December 4, 2017, the Court dismissed the complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e) after determining that it was frivolous and failed to state a claim upon which
relief could be granted.1 Plaintiff filed other complaints alleging these same claims, based upon
these same facts, against different defendants. See Jordan v. 22nd Judicial Circuit Court, Case
No. 4:17-cv-2680-RWS (E.D. Mo. Nov. 9, 2017); Jordan v. State of Missouri District Attorney’s
Office, Case No. 4:17-cv-2893-AGF (E.D. Mo. Dec. 26, 2017). Those complaints were also
dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) on the grounds they were frivolous and/or failed to
state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
The instant complaint alleges the same claims based upon the same facts as prior
complaints filed by plaintiff and dismissed by this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). While
the dismissal of the prior complaints “does not bar future litigation over the merits of a paid
complaint making the same allegations as the dismissed complaint, a § 1915(e) dismissal has res
judicata effect ‘on frivolousness determinations for future in forma pauperis petitions.’” Waller
v. Groose, 38 F.3d 1007, 1008 (8th Cir. 1994) (per curiam) (quoting Denton v. Hernandez, 504
U.S. 25 (1992)); see also Cooper v. Delo, 997 F.2d 376, 377 (8th Cir. 1993) (§ 1915(e) dismissal
has res judicata effect on future IFP petitions). Accordingly, the Court determines that the §
1915(e) dismissals of plaintiff’s prior cases have res judicata effect and establish that this
complaint, making the same allegations based upon the same facts, is frivolous for § 1915(e)
The complaint is also frivolous and subject to dismissal because plaintiff’s claims are
barred by the statute of limitations. In Wallace v. Kato, the United States Supreme Court held
that the statute of limitations upon a § 1983 claim seeking damages for a false arrest/false
imprisonment in violation of the Fourth Amendment, where the arrest is followed by criminal
Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal in this action on December 13, 2017.
proceedings, begins to run at the time the claimant is detained pursuant to legal process. 549
U.S. 384, 397 (2007). Section 1983 claims are analogous to personal injury claims, and are
subject to Missouri’s five-year statute of limitations. Sulik v. Taney County, Mo., 393 F.3d 765,
766-67 (8th Cir. 2005); Mo. Rev. Stat. § 516.120(4). In this case, plaintiff’s claims stem from a
January 9, 2011 arrest, but he did not file the complaint until December 18, 2017. Although the
statute of limitations is an affirmative defense, a district court may properly dismiss an in forma
pauperis complaint as frivolous when it is apparent the statute of limitations has run. Myers v.
Vogal, 960 F.2d 750, 751 (8th Cir. 1992). Finally, even if plaintiff’s claims were not timebarred, the complaint would be subject to dismissal because plaintiff has not alleged that a policy
or custom of the City of St. Louis was responsible for the alleged constitutional violations. See
Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978). The Court
concludes that the complaint is subject to dismissal on these bases, as well.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis
(Docket No. 2) is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk of Court shall not issue process upon the
complaint because it is legally frivolous and/or it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Dated this 13th day of February, 2018.
AUDREY G. FLEISSIG
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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