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Joshua J. Jones v. Edward Luedtke

September 7, 2012

JOSHUA J. JONES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EDWARD LUEDTKE, JOHN FAYRAM, JAKE NOONAN, CURT MAYO, JEAN EVEN, JEAN SCHLICTEMEIER, MIKE BECHTHOLD, DEFENDANTS.



ORDER

The matter before the court is the plaintiff's report to the court (docket no. 4). The plaintiff filed such report on April 5, 2011. As the court directed him, the plaintiff informed the court that he desired to proceed with this action even though the filing fee had increased from $250.00 to $350.00. Given such report, the court deems it appropriate to rule on the plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis and to conduct an initial review of his complaint.

I. IN FORMA PAUPERIS UNDER 28 U.S.C. § 1915

Based on the plaintiff's application and certificate of inmate account, it is clear that the plaintiff does not have sufficient funds to pay the required filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) (requiring $350.00 filing fee). Thus, in forma pauperis status shall be granted to the plaintiff. See generally 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The clerk's office shall file the complaint without the prepayment of the filing fee. Although the court deemed it appropriate to grant the plaintiff in forma pauperis status, the plaintiff is required to pay the full $350.00 filing fee by making payments on an installment basis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1); see also In re Tyler, 110 F.3d 528, 529-30 (8th Cir. 1997) ("[T]he [Prisoner Litigation Reform Act] makes prisoners responsible for their filing fees the moment the prisoner brings a civil action or files an appeal."). The full filing fee will be collected even if the court dismisses the case because it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks money damages against a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

Here, the plaintiff must pay an initial partial filing fee in the amount of 20 percent of the greater of his average monthly account balance or average monthly deposits for the six months preceding the filing of the complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Based on his average monthly balance, the court finds that the initial partial filing fee is $10.08. Id. The plaintiff shall submit $10.08 by no later than September 28, 2012. Id. If necessary, the plaintiff may request in a written motion an extension of time to pay the initial partial filing fee.

In addition to the initial partial filing fee, the plaintiff must "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 statute places the burden on the prisoner's institution to collect the additional monthly payments and forward them to the court. Specifically, [a]fter payment of the initial partial filing fee, the prisoner shall be required to make monthly payments of 20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account. The agency having custody of the prisoner shall forward payments from the prisoner's account to the clerk of the court each time the amount in the account exceeds $10 until the filing fees are paid.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). Therefore, after the plaintiff pays in full the initial partial filing fee, the remaining installments shall be collected by the institution having custody of the plaintiff. Id. The clerk's office shall send a copy of this order and the notice of collection of filing fee to the appropriate official at the place where the plaintiff is an inmate.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A pro se complaint must be liberally construed. See Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9, 101 S. Ct. 173, 66 L. Ed. 2d 163 (1980); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S. Ct. 594, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652 (1972) (per curiam); Smith v. St. Bernards Reg'l Med. Ctr., 19 F.3d 1254, 1255 (8th Cir. 1994). In addition, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless, they must be weighed in favor of the plaintiff. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32-33, 112 S. Ct. 1728, 118 L. Ed. 2d 340 (1992). A court, however, can dismiss at any time a complaint filed in forma pauperis if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). A claim is "frivolous" if it "lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 109 S. Ct. 1827, 104 L. Ed. 2d 338 (1989); accord Cokeley v. Endell, 27 F.3d 331, 332 (8th Cir. 1994). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (2007). Accordingly, a court may review the complaint and dismiss sua sponte those claims that fail "'to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. . . .'", see Parkhurst v. Tabor, 569 F.3d 861, 865 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Bell Atl., 550 U.S. at 555), or that are premised on meritless legal theories or clearly lack any factual basis, see Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 325. See, e.g., Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. at 27 (considering frivolousness); Myers v. Vogal, 960 F.2d 750, 751 (8th Cir. 1992) (concluding that a district court may dismiss an action if an affirmative defense exists).

III. CLAIMS ASSERTED

Currently confined at the Iowa Medical & Classification Center in Coralville, Iowa, the plaintiff, proceeding pro se, submitted a complaint to redress issues that are related to his confinement at the Anamosa State Penitentiary in Anamosa, Iowa. The plaintiff predicates jurisdiction on 28 U.S.C. § 1343. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), venue appears proper as the defendants are located in this district and the events giving rise to the instant action occurred in this district.

In his complaint, the plaintiff essentially claims that Mike Bechthold touched him inappropriately during a pat down search and Mike Bechthold made a sexual comment and offered him extra food two days after such pat down search. He also alleges that the other defendants did not do anything after he submitted grievances and complained about Mike Bechthold's sexual misconduct and harassment. Further, the plaintiff states that he fears for his safety.*fn1 As relief, the plaintiff states that he would like to be awarded an undisclosed amount of damages for the mental stress that he has endured, to have an attorney appointed to represent him and to have criminal charges filed against Mike Bechthold for his sexual misconduct. He also requests that no portion of his monetary judgment be allocated to satisfy outstanding restitution obligations that he has.

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Claims Under 42 U.S.C. ...


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