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Latham v. Southern Helath Partners

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

February 16, 2016

RICHARD KEITH LATHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
SOUTHERN HELATH PARTNERS, ET. AL., Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

BARRY A. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.

This is a civil rights action filed by the Plaintiff, Richard Keith Latham, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)(2011), the Honorable Susan O. Hickey, United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a report and recommendation.

Currently before the Court are Motions to Dismiss filed by Defendant Miller County Sheriff's Department ("MCSD") (ECF No. 20), and Defendant Southern Health Partners, Inc. ("SHP") (ECF No. 17).

I. BACKGROUND

The events that are the subject of this lawsuit occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Miller County Correctional Facility. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff filed this Complaint on December 4, 2014. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff alleges his constitutional rights were violated by denial of medical care. Plaintiff sues MCSD in an official capacity. He sues SHP in both official and individual capacity. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. ECF No. 1.

Plaintiff filed two Motions to Amend/Correct his Complaint on January 20, 2015 and February 9, 2015. ECF Nos. 7, 8. On March 11, 2015, the Court entered an Order noting Plaintiff had filed these Motions and directing Plaintiff to advise the Court whether he was seeking to add any individuals as Defendants in the case. ECF No. 10. On April 16, Plaintiff responded by resubmitting the same documents he had filed in January and February. He did not advise the Court if he wished to add any individuals as Defendants. Therefore, no new Defendants were added to the case. The Court will, however, consider the factual allegations contained in the Supplements in its analysis.

II. APPLICABLE LAW

Rule 8(a) contains the general pleading rules and requires a complaint to present "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "In order to meet this standard, and survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal quotations omitted)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. While the Court will liberally construe a pro se plaintiff's complaint, the plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to support their claims. See Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Defendant Miller County Sheriff's Department

Defendant MCSD argues it is not a person subject to suit under § 1983. Defendant further argues Plaintiff has, at most, alleged negligence, which is not actionable under § 1983.

The sheriff's department is a building and not a person or a legal entity subject to suit under § 1983. See e.g., Dean v. Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1214 (11th Cir. 1992)("[s]heriff's departments and police departments are not usually considered legal entities subject to suit"); Powell v. Cook County Jail, 814 F.Supp. 757 (N.D. Ill. 1993)(jail not subject to suit); Marsden v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 856 F.Supp. 832, 836 (S.D.N.Y. 1994)("jail is not an entity that is amenable to suit"); In re Scott County Master Docket, 672 F.Supp. 1152, 1163 n. 1 (D. Minn. 1987)(sheriff's department is not a legal entity subject to suit), aff'd, Myers v. Scott County, 863 F.2d 1017 (8th Cir. 1989). The jail is a building and not a person or a legal entity subject to suit under § 1983. See e.g., Dean v. Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1214 (11th Cir. 1992)("[s]heriff's departments and police departments are not usually considered legal entities subject to suit"); Powell v. Cook County Jail, 814 F.Supp. 757 (N.D. Ill. 1993)(jail not subject to suit); Marsden v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 856 F.Supp. 832, 836 (S.D.N.Y. 1994)("jail is not an entity that is amenable to suit"); In re Scott County Master Docket, 672 F.Supp. 1152, 1163 n. 1 (D. Minn. 1987)(sheriff's department is not a legal entity subject to suit), aff'd, Myers v. Scott County, 863 F.2d 1017 (8th Cir. 1989). The great weight of authority is that sheriff's departments are not subject to suit for alleged violations of § 1983. Accordingly, Defendant MCSD's Motion to Dismiss is appropriate and should be granted.

B. Defendant Southern Health Partners, Inc.

Defendant SHP argues Plaintiff has not alleged an official custom or policy sufficient to ...


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