United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
MARK S. LEWIS ADC #650548 PLAINTIFF
JUSTIN BARNES, et al. DEFENDANTS
KRISTINE G. BAKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Mark S. Lewis, an inmate at the Barbara Ester Unit of the
Arkansas Department of Correction, filed this case pro
se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Dkt. No. 1). Mr.
Lewis filed this case without prepayment of the
$400.00 filing fee or an application to proceed
without prepayment of fees and affidavit, so the Court
ordered Mr. Lewis to either pay the $400.00 filing fee in
full or file a properly completed application to proceed
in forma pauperis (Dkt. No. 10). Mr. Lewis
subsequently filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis (Dkt. No. 11).
Application To Proceed In Forma Pauperis
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), a
prisoner who is permitted to file a civil action in forma
pauperis still must pay the full statutory filing fee.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The only question is whether a
prisoner will pay the entire filing fee at the initiation of
the proceeding or in installments over a period of time.
Ashley v. Dilworth, 147 F.3d 715, 716 (8th Cir.
1998). Mr. Lewis filed his complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 (Dkt. No. 1). Even if a prisoner is without assets and
unable to pay an initial filing fee, he will be allowed to
proceed with his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims, and the filing
fee will be collected by the Court in installments from the
prisoner's inmate trust account. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(4). If the prisoner's case is subsequently
dismissed for any reason, including a determination that it
is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief, the full amount of the filing fee will be collected,
and no portion of this filing fee will be refunded to the
prisoner. See U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
Lewis has submitted a declaration that makes the showing
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) (Dkt. No. 1).
Accordingly, Mr. Lewis' motion to proceed in forma
pauperis is granted. Based on the information contained
in Mr. Lewis' account information sheet, the Court will
assess an initial partial filing fee of $45.20. Mr. Lewis
will be obligated to make monthly payments in the amount of
20 percent of the preceding month's income credited to
Mr. Lewis' prison trust account each time the amount in
the account exceeds $10.00 until the $350.00 filing fee is
fully paid. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).
Lewis sued the Paragould Parole Office and Parole Officers
Justin Barnes and Heather Steele under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(Dkt. No. 1). He alleges that Mr. Barnes and Ms. Steele lied
under oath, resulting in the revocation of Mr. Lewis'
parole (Id.). Mr. Lewis also alleges that he made
parole again after being revoked, but Mr. Barnes then
wrongfully denied his parole plan (Dkt. No. 16). Mr. Lewis
seeks damages, as well as wanting his life back (Dkt. No. 1).
law requires that this Court screen prisoner complaints prior
to effecting service upon a defendant. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. Claims that are legally frivolous or malicious, that
fail to state a claim for relief, or that seek money from a
defendant immune from paying damages should be dismissed
before the defendants are served. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. 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 can be granted if it does not
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In reviewing the
sufficiency of a pro se complaint under the
Court's screening function, the Court must give the
complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). The Court also must
weigh all factual allegations in favor of the plaintiff,
unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992). Although pro
se complaints are to be liberally construed, the
complaint must allege specific facts sufficient to state a
claim. See Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d
1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985).
explained below, Mr. Lewis has failed to state a claim on
which relief may be granted.
Paragould Parole Office Is Not Subject To Suit Under 42
U.S.C. § 1983
Lewis sued the Paragould, Arkansas, Parole Office (Dkt. No.
1). Section 1983 provides a cause of action against every
person who, acting under color of state law, deprives another
person of a federally-protected right. Because the Paragould
Parole Office is not a “person” subject to suit
under § 1983, Mr. Lewis' claim against the Parole
Office must be dismissed. See Brown v. Missouri Dep't
of Corrections, 353 F.3d 1038, 1041 (8th Cir. 2004)
(permitting claims against individually named defendants but
concluding that the Missouri Department of Corrections as an
entity was not a proper party under § 1983).