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Laquerre v. McCormick

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

August 30, 2017

RICHARD JAMES LAQUERRE PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF MIKE MCCORMICK, DR. WAGGENHAUSER, NURSE PRACTITIONER DUKES, SOUTHWEST CORRECTIONAL MEDICAL GROUP DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          Susan O. Hickey, United States District Judge.

         This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff Richard James Laquerre pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis (“IFP”). This matter is before the Court for preservice screening under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). Pursuant to the PLRA, the Court must dismiss an IFP plaintiff's complaint, or any portion of the complaint, that is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         I. BACKGROUND

         On April 28, 2017, Plaintiff filed this section 1983 lawsuit, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated in the Garland County Detention Center (“GCDC”). Plaintiff alleges that he was denied medical care, denied access to a law library, and denied access to an adequate grievance procedure. (ECF No. 1, pp. 4-7). Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Waggenhauser, Dukes, and Correctional Medical Group denied him an MRI and x-ray “to see how much more damage has been cause[d] to my shoulder, back, and spine for slips and falls that happened in Garland County Detention Center.” (ECF No. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff alleges the slips and falls are causing him pain, and that he has trouble cleaning and dressing himself as a result. In a later filing, Plaintiff states he does not want to take addictive pain medication for the rest of his life. (ECF No. 10, p. 1). Plaintiff asserts denial-of-medical-care claims against Defendants Waggenhauser, Dukes, and Correctional Medical Group in both their official and individual capacities.

         Plaintiff also alleges that unknown Defendants told him that he could have caselaw or other legal information printed out for him, “which is hard because [he] does not know what to ask for.” (ECF No. 1, p. 5). He further alleges that in March 2017, a law library was set up on a kiosk in the GCDC's multi-use room, but he does not have sufficient time to use it and he does not know how to use it. Plaintiff asserts this claim against the unknown, unnamed Defendants in their official capacity only.

         Plaintiff alleges further that the GCDC has an inadequate grievance procedure because he cannot “follow thru [sic] with the complete procedure do [sic] to the length of time it takes to have them answered, ” he did not get many of the grievances back, and that “the form itself is not completely printed out.” (ECF No. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff asserts this claim against unknown, unnamed Defendants in their official capacity only.

         II. DISCUSSION

         Pursuant to the screening provisions of the PLRA, the Court must determine whether the causes of action stated in Plaintiff's complaint: (1) are frivolous or malicious, (2) fail to state claims upon which relief may be granted, or (3) seek monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). A complaint is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that a defendant, acting under color of state law, deprived him of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the United States Constitution or by federal law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).

         The Court will first address Plaintiff's claims against Defendant McCormick. The Court will then address Plaintiff's individual-capacity claims. Finally, the Court will address Plaintiff's official-capacity claims.

         A. Defendant McCormick

         Plaintiff lists Defendant McCormick in the case caption of his complaint, but does not assert any claims against him or allege any facts against him. Merely listing a defendant in a case caption is insufficient to support a claim of a constitutional violation by that defendant. Krych v. Hass, 83 Fed. App'x. 854, 855 (8th Cir. 2003) (citing Potter v. Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir. 1974)) (per curiam). Even for an official-capacity claim under section 1983, “a plaintiff must show either that the official named in the suit took an action pursuant to an unconstitutional governmental policy or custom . . . or that he or she possessed final authority over the subject matter at issue and used that authority in an unconstitutional manner.” Nix v. Norman, 879 F.2d 429, 433 (8th Cir. 1989).

         In this case, Plaintiff merely listed Defendant McCormick as a defendant in the complaint's case caption. Plaintiff made no claims or allegations against Defendant McCormick. Thus, he failed to state a plausible claim against Defendant McCormick. Therefore, the Court finds that Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed as to Defendant McCormick.

         B. ...


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