Dodson
v.
Johnson

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern DivisionMay 25, 2006
No. 4:06-CV-484-DJS. (E.D. Mo. May. 25, 2006)

No. 4:06-CV-484-DJS.

May 25, 2006


ORDER AND MEMORANDUM


This matter is before the Court upon the application of Melvin C. Dodson (registration no. 338-585) for leave to commence this action without payment of the required filing fee.

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 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 six-month period. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). 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. See 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 on March 17, 2006. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), (2). A review of plaintiff's account statement indicates an average monthly deposit of $24.67, and an average monthly account balance of $5.31. Plaintiff has insufficient funds to pay the entire filing fee. Accordingly, the Court will assess an initial partial filing fee of which is 20 percent of plaintiff's average monthly deposit.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis at any time if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Jackson Sawmill Co. v. United States, 580 F.2d 302, 306 (8th Cir. 1978).

In reviewing a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). The Court must also weigh all factual allegations in favor of the plaintiff, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v. Hernandez, 112 S. Ct. 1728, 1733 (1992); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).

The complaint

Plaintiff, an inmate at the Lunenburg Correctional Center in Victoria, Virginia, seeks monetary, declaratory, and injunctive relief in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against defendants Gene M. Johnson (Director, Department of Corrections), C.F. Wallace ("acting warden"), E. Pennington (sergeant), and Keefe Commissary Network.

Liberally construing the complaint, plaintiff alleges that, while incarcerated in Virginia, he purchased a color television from Keefe Commissary Network Sales in St. Louis, Missouri, "only to find that the internal speaker was removed, as well as the battery compartment."

Having carefully reviewed the complaint, the Court concludes that plaintiff has failed to state the denial of a constitutional right. Moreover, although the due process clause may be implicated when a prisoner suffers a loss of property, if the taking of property by prison officials is intentional and the state provides an adequate postdeprivation remedy, there is no violation of due process. Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517 (1984); Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527 (1981), overruled on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 328 (1986). Plaintiff does not allege that he does not have an adequate postdeprivation remedy. Furthermore, regardless of the existence of a state postdeprivation remedy, no due process claim exists if the loss of plaintiff's property was the result of negligence. See Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 328 (1986); accord Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344, 347 (1986); Morton v. Becker, 793 F.2d 185, 188 n. 3 (8th Cir. 1986) (Fourteenth Amendment due process clause is not implicated by state official's negligent act causing unintended loss of or injury to life, liberty, or property). For these reasons, the complaint will be dismissed as legally frivolous.

Last, plaintiff has filed a separate motion for preliminary injunction [Doc. #5] relative to the prison conditions at Lunenburg Correctional Center in Victoria, Virginia. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri lacks venue to consider plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction, and thus, the motion will be denied, without prejudice.

In accordance with the foregoing,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. #7] is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's original motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. #1] is DENIED as moot.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the plaintiff shall pay an initial partial filing fee of $4.93 within thirty (30) days from 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 plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel [Doc. #4] is DENIED as moot.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction [Doc. #5] is DENIED, without prejudice.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause process to issue upon the complaint, because the complaint is legally frivolous and/or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

An appropriate order shall accompany this order and memorandum.