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Jones v. Helder

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

March 31, 2017

EZRA JOE JONES PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF TIM HELDER; SERGEANT BYRD; CORPORAL CAUDLE; SERGEANT STANTON; MEDICAL STAFF LANDON; ARAMARK CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, LLC; JOHN OR JANE DOE ARAMARK SUPERVISOR FROM AUGUST 6, 2016, TO AUGUST 26, 2016; JOHN OR JANE DOE Nos. 7 TO 18 ARAMARK KITCHEN STAFF FOR DATES FROM AUGUST 7, 2016, TO AUGUST 22, 2016; JOHN OR JANE DOE No. 19 ARAMARK SUPERVISOR FROM OCTOBER 26, 2014, TO MARCH 2, 2015; JOHN OR JANE DOE Nos. 20-37 ARAMARK KITCHEN STAFF FROM AUGUST 24, 2016, TO OCTOBER 2016; DEPUTY C. CINK; LIEUTENANT FOSTER; and CORPORAL CARRIER DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is a civil rights case filed by Plaintiff Ezra Joe Jones pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis.

         Currently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 24) filed by Aramark Correctional Services, LLC, the John Doe Kitchen Staff, the John Doe Kitchen Supervisor, and Deputy C. Cink. Mr. Jones did not file a response to the Motion to Dismiss.

         Mr. Jones is currently incarcerated in the Randall L. Williams Correctional Facility of the Arkansas Department of Correction. When he filed this case on September 12, 2016, he was incarcerated in the Washington County Detention Center ("WCDC"). The claims asserted arise out of his incarceration in the WCDC.

         I. BACKGROUND

         According to the allegations of the Complaint (Doc. 1), Defendants failed to provide Mr. Jones with: (1) a diet in keeping with his religious beliefs; (2) a well-balanced diet; and (3) a diet meeting vegetarian standards. He also alleges that Aramark failed to properly train its kitchen staff with respect to basic nutritional standards, portion control, appropriate substitutions, religious diets, and how to properly and timely respond to requests or grievances about the food being served. He additionally alleges that kitchen staff are not provided with a copy of the menu.

         With respect to Deputy Cink, Mr. Jones alleges that she responded to his written complaint regarding meals with-what he perceived to be-a veiled threat. Specifically, he claims that Deputy Cink responded: "It seems that almost every day you have a complaint. I will see if we can't get a scheduled visit with the Medical Dept. and see if we can't solve your issues." (Doc. 8, p. 2). Mr. Jones interpreted this as a threat to "force sedation" on him. Id. at 3.

         As relief, Mr. Jones seeks compensatory and punitive damages. He also asks for the following to be placed on the jail kiosk in the document section: a copy of the approved menu with portion size noted; a copy of the "feeding policy"; and instructions on how to obtain special/religious diets.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         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 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)).

         "The 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 facts 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).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Aramark and Deputy Cink argue they are entitled to dismissal of the claims against them on the following grounds: (1) Mr. Jones's allegations, accepted as true for purposes of this Motion, do not allege a physical injury as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (e) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA); and (2) his allegations fail to state an Eighth Amendment claim.

         Section 1983 provides a federal cause of action for the deprivation, under color of law, of a citizen's "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" of the United States. In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that the defendant acted under color of state law and violated a right secured by the Constitution. West v. Adkins, 487 U.S. 42 (1988); Dunham v. Wadley,195 F.3d 1007, 1009 (8th Cir. 1999). The deprivation must be intentional; mere negligence will not suffice to state a claim for ...


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