United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
J. FELIX FERNANDO CORONA-CERVANTES PLAINTIFF
DR. ROBERT KARAS; SAM CAUDLE; DENTIST TRUANG LE; and DEPUTY HAMMONDS DEFENDANTS
HOLMES, III CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis.
Currently before the Court is the motion to dismiss (Doc. 9)
for failure to state a claim filed by Separate Defendant
Deputy Hammonds pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff has not responded to the
motion to dismiss.
events that are the subject of this lawsuit occurred while
Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Washington County Detention
Center. Plaintiff alleges his constitutional rights were
violated when he was denied adequate medical and dental care,
subjected to constant heat due to the lack of a working
air-conditioning system, and denied his breakfast. With
respect to the latter claim, Plaintiff maintains Deputy
Hammonds denied him breakfast on August 29, 2016,
“because [Deputy Hammonds] was trying to run through
his duties and he refuses to listen to anybody.”
Plaintiff proceeds against Deputy Hammonds in his individual
capacity only. Plaintiff seeks to recover compensatory and
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 his claims. See Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d
912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).
Hammonds contends the complaint fails to state facts showing
that Plaintiff suffered a constitutional injury. At most,
Deputy Hammonds argues the facts alleged suggest negligence
on his part.
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, plaintiff must allege that
defendant acted under color of state law and that he violated
a right secured by the Constitution. West v. Atkins,
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
deprivation of a constitutional right under § 1983.
Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986);
Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344 (1986).
the State takes a person into its custody and holds him there
against his will, the Constitution imposes upon it a
corresponding duty to assume some responsibility for his
safety and general well-being.” County of
Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833, 851 (1998) (citation
omitted). The Constitution does not mandate comfortable
prisons, but neither does it permit inhumane ones. See
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994).
Plaintiff was a pre-trial detainee at the time of the alleged
incident; however, the Eighth Circuit applies the same
deliberate indifference standard to pretrial detainees as
applied to convicted inmates. See Butler v.
Fletcher, 465 F.3d 340, 345 (8th Cir. 2006) (deliberate
indifference standard of the Eighth Amendment applies to
claims, brought by pretrial detainees and convicted inmates,
that prison officials failed to provide adequate food,
clothing, shelter, etc.).
Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits
the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. Const.
amend. VIII. The Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the
Eighth Amendment forbids conditions involving “wanton
and unnecessary infliction of pain, ” or that are
“grossly disproportionate to the severity of the
crime.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347
prisoner alleging an Eighth Amendment violation must prove
both an objective and subjective element. See Revels v.
Vincenz, 382 F.3d 870, 875 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing
Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991)). “The
defendant's conduct must objectively rise to the level of
a constitutional violation by depriving the plaintiff of the
minimal civilized measure of life's necessities. The
defendant's conduct must also reflect a subjective state
of mind evincing deliberate indifference to the health or
safety of the prisoner” Revels, 382 F.3d at
875 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
Deliberate indifference is established when the Plaintiff
shows “the defendant was substantially aware of but
disregarded an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety.” Revels, 382 F.3d at 875. The
standards against which a court measures prison conditions
are “the evolving standards of decency that mark the
progress of a maturing society.” Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102 (1976).
Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual
punishment is violated if an inmate is not provided with
meals adequate to maintain his health. See e.g., Keenan
v. Hall, 83 F.3d 1083, 1091 (9th Cir. 1996);
Campbell v. Cauthron, 623 F.2d 503, 508 (8th Cir.
1980)(prisoners are guaranteed a reasonably adequate diet).
“The deprivation of food constitutes cruel and unusual
punishment only if it denies a prisoner the ‘minimal
civilized measure of life's necessities.'”
Talib v. Gilley, 138 F.3d 211, 214 n. 3 (5th Cir.
1998)(expressing doubt that Talib who missed about fifty
meals in five months and lost fifteen pounds met this
threshold)(quoting Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294,
298 (1991)). “Whether the deprivation of food falls
below this threshold depends on the amount and duration of
the deprivation.” Green v. Ferrell, 801 F.2d
765, 770 (5th Cir. 1986). One missed meal is clearly
insufficient to state a claim of constitutional dimension.
See e.g., Jaros v. Illinois Dept. of Correction, ...