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Bethune v. Cradduck

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division

November 26, 2014

JOSEPH LEE BETHUNE, PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF KELLY CRADDUCK; and CAPTAIN JEREMY GUYLL, DEFENDANTS

Joseph Lee Bethune, Plaintiff, Pro se, Malvern, AR.

For Sheriff Kelly Cradduck, Captain Jeremy Guyll, Defendants: Jason E. Owens, LEAD ATTORNEY, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, P.A., Little Rock, AR.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

HON. ERIN L. SETSER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

This is a civil rights case filed by the Plaintiff pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis .

The Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Ouachita River Correctional Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction. The claims at issue in this case arose while Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Benton County Detention Center (BCDC).

Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss (Doc. 14). Plaintiff has not responded. The motion to dismiss is before me for issuance of this report and recommendation.

1. Background

According to the allegations of the complaint (Doc. 1) and the addendum (Doc. 8), Plaintiff was booked into the BCDC on November 23, 2013. At the time, he was in convicted status.

Plaintiff maintains when he was booked in he was put into a two-man cell with three other inmates. This left inmates sleeping on the floor on mats. On an unspecified number of other occasions, Plaintiff alleges he was again housed in two man cells with " three people and one on the floor within 12 inches of the toilets."

When Plaintiff submitted a grievance via the jail's kiosk system, the response he received was: " That's just the way it is at this point in time."

Plaintiff named as Defendants the BCDC and Sheriff Cradduck. Plaintiff indicated he was suing the Defendants in their official capacities only. Captain Jeremy Guyll was substituted in the place of the BCDC because a detention facility is not a person subject to suit under § 1983.

Because Plaintiff indicated he was suing the Defendants in their official capacities only, he was ordered to complete a questionnaire to be filed as an addendum to the complaint. In the addendum, the Court explained the distinction between official and individual capacity claims. Plaintiff was asked whether he contended Benton County had an unconstitutional policy, he answered yes and stated:

It is a growing procedure of Benton County to house inmates under inhumane, cruel and unnecessary conditions. I was housed in a cell built and designed for only two people on several occasions, with there being three people in the cell. On more than one of these occasions, I was forced to sleep directly on the concrete floor with my mat. The size of the cell ...

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