United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
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. 8)
for failure to state a claim filed by Separate Defendant,
Sheriff Helder, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff has not responded to the
motion to dismiss.
is incarcerated in the Washington County Detention Center. On
December 10, 2015, Plaintiff was taken to Washington Regional
Medical Center where he alleges Deputy Marsh and Corporal
Smith held him down while a nurse forcibly inserted a
catheter. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff contends Deputy Marsh and
Corporal Smith used excessive force against him when they
held him down despite his begging them not to do so. (Doc.
has sued Deputy Marsh and Corporal Smith in both their
individual and official capacities. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff lists
Sheriff Helder as a Defendant, but he does not mention him in
the statement of his claim. (Doc. 1). In a supplement (Doc.
17) to the Complaint, Plaintiff does not list Sheriff Helder
as a Defendant or mention him in the statement of his claim.
(Doc. 17). Instead, he only asserts a claim for
"trespass against [his] property" based on the
December 10, 2015, actions of Deputy Marsh and Corporal
Smith. (Doc. 17). In the supplement, Plaintiff also states
that he was taken to the emergency room of the Springdale
Hospital rather than Washington Regional. (Doc. 17).
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).
Helder argues the even accepting Plaintiff's allegations
as true, the Complaint fails to state facts showing the he
conducted any wrongful activity or caused any alleged damage
or injury. 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, 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).
of deprivation of a constitutional right cannot be based on a
respondeat superior theory of liability. See
Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 654,
694 (1978). "[A] supervisor is not vicariously liable
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for an employee's
unconstitutional activity." White v. Holmes, 21
F.3d 277, 280 (8th Cir. 1994); see also Whitson v. Stone
County Jail, 602 F.3d 920, 928 (8th Cir. 2010) ("In
a § 1983 case, an official is only liable for his own
misconduct and is not accountable for the misdeeds of his
agents under a theory such as respondeat superior or
supervisor liability") (internal quotations omitted);
Keeper v. King, 130 F.3d 1309, 1314 (8th Cir. 1997)
("general responsibility for supervising the operations
of a prison is insufficient to establish the personal
involvement required to support liability").
under section 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct
responsibility for, the deprivation of rights. To establish
personal liability of the supervisory defendant, [Plaintiff]
must allege specific facts of personal involvement in, or
direct responsibility for, a deprivation of his
constitutional rights." Clemmons v. Armontrout,
477 F.3d 962, 967 (8th Cir. 2007) (quoting Mayorga v.
Missouri, 442 F.3d 1128, 1132 (8th Cir. 2006));
Keeper v. King, 130 F.3d 1309, 1314 (8th Cir. 1997)
(no evidence that the defendants were doctors or were
personally involved in making medical decisions about
treatment); Mark v. Nix, 983 F.2d 138, 139-40 (8th
Cir. 1993) (section 1983 liability requires some personal
involvement or responsibility). Here, Plaintiff has not
alleged the Sheriff was present at the hospital, involved in
the decision to take Plaintiff to the hospital, or was even
aware that Plaintiff was taken to the hospital. Plaintiff has
established no causal link or direct responsibility of
Sheriff Helder to the alleged deprivation of rights. Sheriff
Helder is not liable in his individual capacity for his
capacity claims are "functionally equivalent to a suit
against the employing governmental entity." Veatch
v. Bartels Lutheran Home, 627 F.3d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir.
2010). In this case, the official capacity claims against
Sheriff Helder are treated as claims against Washington
County. See Murray v. Lene, 595 F.3d 868, 873 (8th
Plaintiff "seeking to impose liability on a municipality
under § 1983 [must] identify [an unconstitutional]
policy or custom that caused the plaintiff's
injury." Board of County Commissioners of Bryan
County, Oklahoma v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403 (1997).
"There are two basic circumstances under which municipal
liability will attach: (1) where a particular municipal
policy or custom itself violates federal law, or directs an
employee to do so; and (2) where a facially lawful municipal
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, as 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 use of
excessive force is insufficient. Plaintiff has not pointed to
a "deliberate choice of a guiding principle or procedure