United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil rights case filed by the Plaintiff Destin Allen Lewis
under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
proceeds pro se and has filed an application to
proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"). He is
incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Correction,
Ouachita River Unit. At all times relevant to this complaint,
Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Benton County Detention
Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") modified the
IFP statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, to require the Court to
screen complaints for dismissal under § 1915(e)(2)(B).
The Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, if
it contains claims that: (a) are frivolous or malicious; (b)
fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(c) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
to the allegations of the Complaint (Doc. 1), Plaintiff
believes his constitutional rights were violated in the
following ways: (1) when there were inmates in the pod that
had not been tested for tuberculosis, had communicable
diseases, had a staph infection, or suffered from mental
illness; (2) when it took Nurse Carlos over forty-eight hours
to segregate the inmate with staph infection; (3) unsanitary
conditions when twenty-five to thirty inmates are required to
use the same toilet and sink (referred to as the public
restroom) when inmates were locked out of their cells; (4)
when inmates fear retribution because they are forced to
break detention center rules by crossing a red line to access
the public restroom causing Plaintiff to attempt to hold his
urine and excrement for hours at a time; (5) when Plaintiff
suffered dehydration as a result of refusing to drink from
the wash basin in the public restroom which he contends was
extremely unsanitary with blood, spit, etc. on it; (6) when
Plaintiff was denied access to a law library, causing him not
to be able to file an appeal or post-conviction motions
including one for a reduced sentence; (7) when inmates are
locked out of their cells for ten or more hours each day,
forced to walk on concrete, or sit on metal stools; (8) when
inmates have to do without toilet paper for up to five hours
at a time, occurring most often when Deputy Kinsinger is on
duty; (9) after May 10, 2017, when inmates were not allowed
to shave or cut their hair; (10) prior to May 10, 2017, when
there was a failure to properly sanitize the electric
clippers between uses, and Deputy Kinsinger refused to
provide the plastic guard with the clippers; (11) when
inmates were charged $20 to see the nurse whether or not she
provides assistance or treatment; (12) when proper
disinfectant spray or cleaning supplies was not received on
numerous days; (13) when Plaintiff was awakened from a deep
sleep by Deputy Trimmel demanding Plaintiff's sheets and
blankets for the laundry when the lights were still off in
the pod;(14) when inmates did not receive fruit for breakfast
as indicated on the posted menu and received fortified fruit
drink at other meals instead, when inmates did not receive
the proper number of calories-causing inmates to
"starve" and Plaintiff to suffer from afflictions
due to a lack of vitamins and nutrients-or when inmates were
served cold meals; (15) when inmates were charged $1.50 a
week, plus tax, for indigent packs; and (16) when inmates
were subjected to price gouging by Keefe Commissary charging
200% to 400% more than retail prices.
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. He
also asks that every inmate in E-pod be given blood tests.
Finally, he asks that he be given a complete physical and
that his blood work be screened.
the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen a case prior to
service of process being issued. A claim is frivolous when it
"lacks an arguable basis either in law or fact."
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A
claim fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." BellAtl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). However, the
Court bears in mind that when "evaluating whether a
pro se plaintiff has asserted sufficient facts to
state a claim, we hold 'a pro se complaint,
however inartfully pleaded, ... to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'"
Jackson v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 541 (8th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
of Plaintiff's claims are subject to dismissal.
Plaintiff's claims about the alleged unsanitary
conditions in connection with the use of the "public
restroom" are subject to dismissal. As a preliminary
matter, Plaintiff has not stated how any of the Defendants
were personally responsible for these conditions.
"Liability under section 1983 requires a causal link to,
and direct responsibility for, the deprivation of rights. To
establish personal liability, [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)); Mark v. Nix,
983 F.2d 138, 139-40 (8th Cir. 1993) (section 1983 liability
requires some personal involvement or responsibility).
Constitution does not mandate comfortable prisons, but
neither does it permit inhumane ones. See Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). The Eighth Amendment
prohibits the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment.
U.S. Const, amend. VIII; see also Wilson v. Setter,
501 U.S. 294 (1991); Hall v. Dalton, 34 F.3d 648,
650 (8th Cir. 1994) ("[l]n this circuit, the standards
applied to Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment claims
have been the same"). "[P]unishment is cruel and
unusual if it deprives inmates of the minimal civilized
measure of life's necessities." Whitnack v.
Douglas County, 16 F.3d 954, 957 (8th Cir.
1994)(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
prison officials must provide reasonably adequate
ventilation, sanitation, bedding, hygienic materials, food,
and utilities. Prison condition claims include threats to an
inmate's health and safety. Irving v. Dormire,
519 F.3d 441, 446 (8th Cir. 2008)(citation omitted). To state
an Eighth Amendment claim, the plaintiff must allege that
prison officials acted with "deliberate
indifference" towards conditions at the prison that
created a substantial risk of serious harm. Farmer,
511 U.S. at 834.
does not allege that he was unable to use the toilet when he
needed to. He does not allege his hygiene suffered as a
result or that he contracted any disease. While he does
allege there were times he held his urine or excrement until
he was able to get back in his cell, this was by choice,
based on his belief the "public restroom" was
unsanitary. Plaintiff does allege one inmate had staph
infection and remained in the pod for over forty-eight hours
before he was segregated, but he does not allege the
infection was connected in any way to the use of the public
restroom during lock out periods. Certainly, there is nothing
in the Complaint suggesting that the Plaintiff was deprived
of a single identifiable human need. No claim is stated.
no claim of constitutional dimension is stated by Plaintiffs
allegation that inmates must cross a red line to reach the
designated public restroom, and that he fears retribution if
he crosses that line. Importantly, Plaintiff does not allege
that he or any other inmate has been disciplined for crossing
the red line to use the designated restroom.
no claim of constitutional dimension is stated concerning
Plaintiffs alleged dehydration that resulted from him
choosing not to drink from the wash basin in the public
restroom. There is no need for Plaintiff to touch the sink
with his mouth in order to obtain a drink. To the extent he
becomes dehydrated during ...