United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
May 14, 2015
NICHOLAS ADDISON, Plaintiff,
KIM MUSE, Defendant.
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
JEROME T. KEARNEY, Magistrate Judge.
The following recommended disposition has been sent to United States District Judge James M. Moody, Jr. Any party may serve and file written objections to this recommendation. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or legal basis for the objection. If the objection is to a factual finding, specifically identify that finding and the evidence that supports your objection. An original and one copy of your objections must be received in the office of the United States District Court Clerk no later than fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and recommendations. The copy will be furnished to the opposing party. Failure to file timely objections may result in waiver of the right to appeal questions of fact.
If you are objecting to the recommendation and also desire to submit new, different, or additional evidence, and to have a hearing for this purpose before the District Judge, you must, at the same time that you file your written objections, include the following:
1. Why the record made before the Magistrate Judge is inadequate.
2. Why the evidence proffered at the hearing before the District Judge (if such a hearing is granted) was not offered at the hearing before the Magistrate Judge.
3. The detail of any testimony desired to be introduced at the hearing before the District Judge in the form of an offer of proof, and a copy, or the original, of any documentary or other non-testimonial evidence desired to be introduced at the hearing before the District Judge.
From this submission, the District Judge will determine the necessity for an additional evidentiary hearing, either before the Magistrate Judge or before the District Judge.
Mail your objections and "Statement of Necessity" to:
Plaintiff Nicholas Addison is an inmate confined at the Poinsett County Detention Center (Jail). He filed this pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Defendant Muse, alleging several improper conditions of confinement.
Having reviewed Plaintiff's Complaint, the Court finds it should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires federal courts to screen prisoner complaints seeking relief against a governmental entity, officer, or employee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that: (a) are legally frivolous or malicious; (b) fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (c) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
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). Whether a plaintiff is represented by counsel or is appearing pro se, his complaint must allege specific facts sufficient to state a claim. See Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir.1985).
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 a pro se complaint under § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). The Court must also 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).
III. Facts and Analysis
In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Kim Muse charges $7 for an intake kit, $3 for a roll of tissue, and the toothbrushes wear out easily. (Doc. No. 2, p. 4) He also claims the uniforms are not properly washed, as they are not as white as those worn by ACT 309 inmates, and that mop water does not contain the proper amount of chemicals. (Id.) Finally, he complains that he takes a shower only every three days and that the towels provided are cut in half. ( Id., p. 5)
In order to support a claim for relief against Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff must allege that a person acting under the color of state law deprived him of some Constitutional right. Griffin-El v. MCI Telecommunications Corp., et al., 835 F.Supp. 1114, 1118 (E.D.MO 1993). Plaintiff does not state whether he was incarcerated as a pretrial detainee, or as a convicted prisoner; therefore, the Court will analyze his claims as those pursued by a pretrial detainee, under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process clause. See Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 n. 16 (1979). "Under the Fourteenth Amendment, pretrial detainees are entitled to at least as great' protection as that afforded convicted prisoners under the Eighth Amendment." Owens v. Scott County Jail, 328 F.3d 1026 (8th Cir. 2003) (quoting City of Revere v. Mass. Gen. Hosp., 463 U.S. 239, 244 (1983)). "[I]nmates are entitled to reasonably adequate sanitation, personal hygiene, and laundry privileges, particularly over a lengthy course of time." Howard v. Adkison, 887 F.2d 134, 137 (8th Cir. 1989).
Conditions which "deprive inmates of the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities, " may be considered cruel and unusual, and therefore, unconstitutional. See Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981). In determining when pretrial detention is considered unconstitutionally punitive, the courts apply the Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference standard, focusing on the length of exposure to unsanitary conditions and the degree to which the conditions are unsanitary. Whitnack v. Douglas County, 16 F.3d 954, 957 (8th Cir. 1994). "Conditions of confinement, however, constitute cruel and unusual punishment only when they have a mutually enforcing effect that produces the deprivation of a single, identifiable human need such as food, warmth, or exercise.'" Id., (quoting Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 304 (1991)).
"Although the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment bars more than physical torture, discomfort compelled by conditions of confinement, without more, does not violate the amendment.'" Martin v. Byrd, No. 4:07cv01184SWW, 2008 WL 686936 * 4 (E.D.Ark.2008) (quoting Smith v. Coughlin, 748 F.2d 783, 787 (2d Cir. 1984) (other citations omitted.)) "Conditions of confinement, however, constitute cruel and unusual punishment only when they have a mutually enforcing effect that produces the deprivation of a single, identifiable human need such as food, warmth, or exercise.'" Martin, supra *4 (quoting Whitnack v. Douglas County, 16 F.3d 954, 957 (8th Cir. 1994)). An inmate who slept without a mattress or blanket for four days on a concrete slab in the winter was not denied the minimal civilized measures of life's necessities, in O'Leary v. Iowa State Men's Reformatory, 79 F.3d 82, 84 (8th Cir. 1996). Furthermore, placement in a strip cell without clothes, water, mattress, pillow, sheets or blanket for four days was found not unconstitutional in Williams v. Delo, 49 F.3d 442, 445 (8th Cir. 1995).
Based on this case law, the Court finds that Plaintiff's allegations against Defendant Muse should be dismissed, for failure to state an Eighth Amendment claim for relief. Plaintiff does not claim that he was deprived of any hygiene items, and he does not claim that he was denied basic human needs such as food, warmth, or exercise. See Whitnack v. Douglas County, 16 F.3d at 957. He does not allege he suffered any injury or adverse health consequences, and he does not allege any actions by Defendant which would show deliberate indifference to a need for health and safety.
IT IS, THEREFORE, RECOMMENDED that:
1. Plaintiff's Complaint against Defendants be DISMISSED without prejudice, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
2. This dismissal constitute a "strike" within the meaning of the PLRA.
3. The Court certify that an in forma pauperis appeal from an Order and Judgment dismissing this action would not be in good faith, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
IT IS SO RECOMMENDED.