United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
ORDER GRANTING IN FORMA PAUPERIS STATUS AND
JEFFREY L. VIKEN CHIEF JUDGE.
Tristan Pope, appearing pro se, filed a complaint
against the Pennington County Jail. (Docket 1). Mr. Pope also
filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis and a
supporting affidavit. (Docket 2 & 3). Section 1915 of
Title 28 of the United States Code, as amended by the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), governs
proceedings filed in forma pauperis. When a prisoner files a
civil action in forma pauperis, the PLRA requires a
prisoner to pay an initial partial filing fee when possible.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The initial partial
filing fee is calculated according to § 1915(b)(1),
which requires a payment of 20 percent of the greater of:
(A) the average monthly deposits to the prisoner's
(B) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account
for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of
the complaint or notice of appeal.
support of his motion, Mr. Pope provided a copy of his
prisoner trust account report. (Docket 3). The report shows
an average monthly deposit since he arrived at the
institution at which he is currently incarcerated of $0, an
average monthly balance of $0, and a current balance of $0.
Id. Based on this information, the court grants Mr.
Pope leave to proceed in forma pauperis. These
findings do not discharge the $350 filing fee but rather
allow a prisoner the opportunity to pay the filing fee in
installments. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)
(“[I]f a prisoner brings a civil action or files an
appeal in forma pauperis, the prisoner shall be required to
pay the full amount of the filing fee.”).
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must review a prisoner
complaint and identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. This screening
process “applies to all civil complaints filed by [a]
prisoner, regardless of payment of [the] filing fee.”
Lewis v. Estes, 242 F.3d 375 at *1 (8th Cir. 2000)
(unpublished) (citing Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115,
116 (2d Cir. 1999)). During this initial screening process,
the court must dismiss the complaint in its entirety or in
part if the complaint is “frivolous, malicious, or
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted” or “seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C.
court may dismiss a complaint under §§
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a
claim as “the statute accords judges not only the
authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce
the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and
dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly
baseless.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
Mr. Pope is proceeding pro se, his pleading must be
liberally construed and his complaint, “however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (internal quotation
marks and citation omitted). Even with this construction,
“a pro se complaint must contain specific facts
supporting its conclusions.” Martin v.
Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985); Ellis
v. City of Minneapolis, 518 Fed.Appx. 502, 504 (8th Cir.
2013). Civil rights complaints cannot be merely conclusory.
Davis v. Hall, 992 F.2d 151, 152 (8th Cir. 1993);
Parker v. Porter, 221 Fed.Appx. 481, 482 (8th Cir.
Pope names the Pennington County Jail as the defendant in
this case. “[C]ounty jails are not legal entities
amenable to suit.” Owens v. Scott County Jail,
328 F.3d 1026, 1027 (8th Cir. 2003). Mr. Pope's claims
against the Pennington County Jail must be dismissed,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and
1915A(b)(1), for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted.
on the above analysis, it is
that Mr. Pope's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis (Docket 2) is granted.
FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(2), the institution having custody of Mr. Pope shall,
whenever the amount in Mr. Pope's trust account exceeds
$10, forward monthly payments that equal 20 percent of the
funds credited to the account the preceding month to the
Clerk of Court for the United States District Court, District
of South Dakota, until the $350 filing fee is paid in full.
FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to §§
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1) Mr. Pope's complaint
(Docket 1) is dismissed without prejudice for failure ...