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Fyke v. Helder

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

May 11, 2015

CASEY R. FYKE, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF TIM HELDER, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

ERIN L. SETSER, 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. Plaintiff is incarcerated in the Washington County Detention Center (WCDC) located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The case is before me for preservice screening under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court has the obligation to screen any complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

I. Background

According to the allegations of the complaint (Doc. 1) and the addendum (Doc. 8), on January 13, 2015, someone flooded the pod in which the Plaintiff was housed. Officers went from cell to cell trying to determine who was to blame. When they came into Plaintiff's cell, he was told to put his hands on the wall. Plaintiff believed that the officers were trying to provoke a fight.

Plaintiff was moved to "ISO1" for two days with no water. He could not flush the toilet. Plaintiff believes the officers were blaming him for the flood in the pod. He alleged that the officers had been treating him badly and wrote a major disciplinary on him in an effort to get him put in the "hole" for five days.

Plaintiff named Sheriff Helder as the sole Defendant and indicated he was suing the Sheriff in his official capacity only. Plaintiff was directed (Doc. 4) to file an addendum to the complaint. In the addendum, the Court described the difference between official and individual claims and advised the Plaintiff that an official capacity claim was stated only if the governmental entity had a policy, custom, or practice, that was the moving force behind the constitutional violation.

Plaintiff indicated he contended Washington County had an unconstitutional policy. Doc. 8 at 2. When asked to describe the policy, Plaintiff responded:

I have a right to a clean environment. The officers placed me in ISO1 and shut off my water. I was in there for a few days and I asked them to turn on the water so I could flush my toilet and they refused to. After a few days the smell got so bad it was making me sick.

Id.

Plaintiff also indicated he believed Washington County had an unconstitutional custom. Doc. 8 at 3. He described the custom as follows: "I have a right to a clean environment and the officers violated that right because of my charges. They think they can do whatever they want and get away with it." Id.

Plaintiff again indicated he intended to sue Sheriff Helder in his official capacity only. Doc. 8 at 3. He was asked to state how he believed the Sheriff violated his federal constitutional rights. Doc. 8 at 3-4. He responded: "I am sueing (sic) Mr. Helder because he is responsible for everything that happens in this jail. There is no reason to let his employees act this way and not do anything about it." Id.

II. Discussion

Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), the Court is obligated to screen the case prior to service of process being issued. The Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, if it contains claims that: (a) are frivolous or malicious; (b) fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (c) seek ...


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