United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and
in forma pauperis.
times relevant to this lawsuit, Plaintiff was incarcerated in
the Benton County Detention Center ("BCDC").
Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 19) the official
capacity claims. Plaintiff has not responded to the Motion.
alleges he was denied proper medical care for his bi-polar
disorder. Specifically, he alleges that Defendants changed
his prescription from twice a day to once daily. Plaintiff
asserts that this caused him to have "mental
episodes." Plaintiff also alleges that, despite the fact
that his family brought his medication for insomnia to the
jail, Defendants refused to provide it to him. Plaintiff
asserts that this "messed" with his sleep.
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 for 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)).
plausibility standard requires a plaintiff to show at the
pleading stage that success on the merits is more than a
'sheer possibility.'" Braden, 588 F.3d
at 594 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). The
standard does "not impose a probability requirement at
the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough fact to raise
a reasonable expectation, " or reasonable inference,
that the "defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also
Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004) (while
pro se complaints are liberally construed, they must allege
sufficient facts to support the claims).
who are employed by Southern Health Partners, Inc.
("SHP"), maintain that the Plaintiff has failed to
allege any facts that show an official institutional policy
or custom reflecting deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs. Defendants move for dismissal of all official
noted above, Plaintiff did not respond to the Motion to
Dismiss. In the Complaint (Doc. 1), when Plaintiff was asked
to describe the custom or policy that he believes caused the
violation of his constitutional rights, Plaintiff responded:
"Do not know policy. Will have to obtain policies during
capacity claims are "functionally equivalent to a suit
against the employing ... entity." Vetch v. Bartels
Lutheran Home, 627 F.3d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir. 2010). In
this case, Defendants are employed by SHP, a contract medical
care provider. "When a private entity like [SHP]
contracts with a county to provide medical services to
inmates, it performs a function traditionally within the
exclusive prerogative of the states. In so doing, it becomes
the functional equivalent of the municipality" and an
essential element of its liability is the existence of a
custom or policy. Buckner v. Toro, 116 F.3d 450, 452
(11th Cir. 1997); see also Burke v. N.D. Dep'tof
Corr. & Rehab., 294 F.3d 1043, 1044 (8th Cir.
2002)(When a corporation acts under color of state law, the
proper test for determining official capacity liability is
whether a policy, custom, or action by those whose actions
may be said to represent official policy inflicted the
constitutional injury). Therefore, the official capacity
claims are treated as claims against SHP. See Murray v.
Lene, 595 F.3d 868, 873 (8th Cir. 2010).
corporation acting under color of state law is liable only
for its own unconstitutional policies or customs and cannot
be held liable under a respondeat superior theory.
Sanders v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 984 F.2d 972
(8th Cir. 1993); see also Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs of
Bryan Cnty., Okla. v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403 (1997).
"There are two basic circumstances under which municipal
[or institutional] liability will attach: (1) where a
particular [institutional] policy or custom itself violates
federal law, or directs an employee to do so; and (2) where a
facially lawful [institutional] policy or custom was adopted
with 'deliberate indifference' to its known or
obvious consequences." Moyle v. Anderson, 571
F.3d 814, 817-18 (8th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted).
has not alleged a plausible "policy" claim. In
short, he has not pointed to "any officially accepted
guiding principle or procedure that was constitutionally
inadequate." Jenkins v. County of Hennepin, 557
F.3d 628, 633 (8th Cir. 2009). Merely alleging a denial of
adequate medical treatment is insufficient. Plaintiff has not
pointed to any SHP principle or procedure made by ...