Jones v. Agnew et al, No. 1:2015cv00121 - Document 5 (E.D. Mo. 2015)

Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION..IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. #2] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall pay an initial filing fee of $2.60 within thirty (30) days of the date of thi s 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 proc eeding. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel [Doc. #4] is DENIED as moot.( Initial Partial Filing Fee due by 9/28/2015.). Signed by District Judge Henry Edward Autrey on 8/28/15. (MRS)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI SOUTHEASTERN DIVISION GARFIELD JONES, Plaintiff, v. BRENDA AGNEW, et al., Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) No. 1:15CV121 ACL OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER This matter is before the Court upon the motion of plaintiff, Garfield Jones, an inmate at Dunklin County Jail, for leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee and will assess an initial partial filing fee of $2.60. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court finds that the complaint should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). 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, until the filing fee is fully paid. Id. Plaintiff has submitted an affidavit and a certified copy of his prison account statement for the six-month period immediately preceding the submission of his complaint. A review of plaintiff's account indicates an average monthly deposit of $6.16, and an average monthly balance of $13.04. Plaintiff has insufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee. Accordingly, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of $2.60, which is 20 percent of plaintiff's average monthly balance. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if it Alacks an arguable basis in either law or fact.@ Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989); Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). An action is malicious if it is undertaken for the purpose of harassing the named defendants and not for the purpose of vindicating a cognizable right. Spencer v. Rhodes, 656 F. Supp. 458, 461-63 (E.D.N.C. 1987), aff=d 826 F.2d 1059 (4th Cir. 1987). A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not plead Aenough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.@ Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Complaint Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights during his incarceration in the Pemiscot County Jail after he was arrested on December 20, 2013. -2- Plaintiff asserts that defendant Brenda Agnew, the Supervisor at the Jail, and Gary Gilmore, a Jailer, generally denied him “medical assistance” even though he was in a “medical cell.” Plaintiff fails to tell the Court what his medical needs were during this time period. Plaintiff also claims he was denied “outside contact over the phone,” and he “suffered an injury to his head.” Plaintiff again fails to elaborate as to what type of injury he suffered and whether or not the injury was treated. Plaintiff states in a conclusory manner that his “injuries were also evidence of a reported crime committed which had been against [him], the police and the jailers withheld that information by obstructing justice under the order or wishes of the Caruthersville City Police Officers.” Plaintiff has not indicated what type of claim he is pursuing regarding this assertion or which defendant is connected to this claim. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. Namely, he “wants people charged and fired.” Discussion The Court has listed above the sum total of plaintiff’s allegations in this matter. Unfortunately, plaintiff’s limited allegations are merely conclusory. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949-51 (2009) (plaintiff’s allegations include “legal conclusions” and “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements”). Moreover, plaintiff has failed to state his claims in a way which link his factual statement to a named defendant. Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir. 1990) (ALiability under § 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct responsibility for, the alleged deprivation of rights.@); see also 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 plaintiff). -3- Furthermore, plaintiff has failed to tell the Court exactly what medical condition he was suffering from, and how each defendant allegedly denied him care during his stay at the Pemiscot County Jail. Dulany v. Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 1239 (8th Cir. 1997) (“In order to show deliberate indifference, plaintiff must allege that he suffered objectively serious medical needs and that defendants actually knew of but deliberately disregarded those needs.”). Last, plaintiff has failed to specify whether he is suing defendants in their official or individual capacities. Where a “complaint is silent about the capacity in which [plaintiff] is suing defendant, [a district court must] interpret the complaint as including only official-capacity claims.” Egerdahl v. Hibbing Community College, 72 F.3d 615, 619 (8th Cir. 1995); Nix v. Norman, 879 F.2d 429, 431 (8th Cir. 1989). 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 of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). To state a claim against a municipality or a government official in his or her official capacity, 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 plaintiff’s constitutional rights. As a result, the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For all of the aforementioned reasons, plaintiff’s complaint is subject to dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. #2] is GRANTED. -4- IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall pay an initial filing fee of $2.60 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) the case number; and (4) that the remittance is for an original proceeding. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this action is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel [Doc. #4] is DENIED as moot. An Order of Dismissal will accompany this Memorandum and Order. Dated this 28th day of August, 2015 ___________________________________ HENRY EDWARD AUTREY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE -5-