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Flowers v. Craighead County Jail

October 4, 2007

DEMETRIUS FLOWERS PLAINTIFF
v.
CRAIGHEAD COUNTY JAIL, IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; OFFICER FRENCH; JOHN DOES 1-2 DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garnett Thomas Eisele United States District Judge

ORDER

Various motions are pending in this action, including: (1) Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Craighead County Jail; (2) Defendant French's Motion for Summary Judgment; and (3) Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel; and (4) Defendants' Motion to Compel.

For the reasons stated below, the Court declines to appoint counsel for Plaintiff, concludes that Craighead County Jail must be dismissed because it is not an entity subject to suit, and concludes that Officer French is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The Court's rulings require the dismissal of this lawsuit.

OVERVIEW

Plaintiff Demetrius Flowers, proceeding pro se, filed this action on May 24, 2007. Plaintiff's hand-written Complaint alleges that two officers beat him in the head and then took him to the hospital. Plaintiff also alleges that Officer French saw the beating, but did nothing to assist Plaintiff.

Officer French is the only officer identified by name in the Complaint. The only other named Defendant is Craighead County Jail.

Elsewhere in the Complaint, Plaintiff contends that he was deprived of his medications while incarcerated. However, there are no allegations that Officer French deprived Plaintiff of his medications. Instead, Plaintiff mentions an Officer by the name of "Gultry." Officer Gultry is not named as a Defendant in this lawsuit. The Court understands, however, that Plaintiff has filed another lawsuit contending that Officer Gultry denied him his medications. That lawsuit is styled Demetrius Flowers v. T. Gultry, et al., Case No. 3:07-cv-00115 JMM/BD was filed on August 23, 2007. It appears that Plaintiff's allegations against Officer Gulty in that case arise from the same incident.

Plaintiff may not pursue the same or similar allegations in separate lawsuits. Because Plaintiff has not named Officer Gulty in this lawsuit, the Court holds that Plaintiff must pursue any allegations related to the alleged denial of medical attention by Officer Gulty in Case No. 3:07-cv-0115. Thus, the only allegations before this Court are Plaintiff's claims against Craighead County Jail and Officer Kyle French. Defendants have filed motions to dismiss both of those claims.

The Court will address separately each of the four pending motions.

(1) Plaintiff's Motion for Appointment of Counsel

This Court has the authority, in its discretion, to appoint counsel to represent indigent plaintiffs. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915. One of the factors the Court considers in determining whether to appoint counsel is the complexity of the case and the merits of the litigant's claims from both a factual and legal standpoint. The issues presented are not complex. At a minimum, Plaintiff should be able to tell the Court who did what to him. Plaintiff has made no effort to controvert the facts sworn to by Officer French. The Court, after considering all relevant factors, concludes that no counsel should be appointed at this time.

(2) Defendant Craighead County Jail's Motion to Dismiss

Craighead County Jail argues that it is not an entity subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has not responded to the motion.

This Court must determine whether Craighead County Jail, the entity sued for violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights, qualifies as a "person" such that it may be sued under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. See ...


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