United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
O. Hickey United States District Judge.
a civil rights action filed by the Plaintiff pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and
in forma pauperis.
case is before the Court for preservice screening under the
provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the
Court has the obligation to screen any complaint in which a
prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer
or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. §
filed his Complaint on August 21, 2017. (ECF No. 1). He
alleges that, while incarcerated in the Ouachita County
Detention Complex, Defendants Craig, Bright, and Smith placed
him in a pod with inmates on Plaintiff's enemy alert
list. Plaintiff alleges he was placed in the pod for
“unknown reasons.” Plaintiff alleges he was
stabbed twice by a known enemy as a result of this placement.
(ECF No. 1 at pp. 5-6).
proceeds against all Defendants in their official capacity
only. (ECF No. 1 at p. 4). Plaintiff seeks compensatory and
punitive damages. (ECF No. 1 at p. 8).
the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen the case prior to
service of process being issued. The Court must dismiss a
complaint, or any portion of it, if it contains claims that:
(1) are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or, (2) seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
is frivolous if “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.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “In 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 (2007)). Even a
pro se plaintiff must allege specific facts
sufficient to support a claim. Martin v. Sargent,
780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985).
listed Defendants Norwood and Bolton in his case caption, but
failed to make any allegations against them elsewhere in his
Complaint. Merely listing a Defendant in a case caption is
insufficient to support a claim against the Defendant.
Krych v. Hass, 83 Fed. App'x. 854, 855 (8th Cir.
2003) (stating that court properly dismissed pro se
complaint that was silent as to defendant except for his name
appearing in caption). Even in an official-capacity suit
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.” Sexton v. Wayne, 4:13-cv-3171, 2014
WL 1767472, at *1 (D. Neb. May 2, 2014) (quoting Nix v.
Norman, 879 F.2d 429, 433 (8th Cir. 1989)). Plaintiff
therefore failed to state a plausible claim against
Defendants Norwood and Bolton.
also failed to allege a plausible official-capacity claim
against the remaining Defendants. Under section 1983, a
defendant may be sued in either his individual capacity, or
in his official capacity, or in both. In Gorman v.
Bartch, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals discussed
the distinction between individual and official-capacity
suits. As explained by the Gorman case:
Claims against government actors in their individual
capacities differ from those in their official capacities as
to the type of conduct that is actionable and as to the type
of defense that is available. Claims against individuals in
their official capacities are equivalent to claims against
the entity for which they work; they require proof that a
policy or custom of the entity violated the plaintiff's
rights, and the only type of immunity available is one
belonging to the entity itself. Personal capacity claims, on
the other hand, are those which allege personal liability for
individual actions by officials in the course of their
duties; these claims do not require proof of any policy and
qualified immunity may be raised as a defense.
Gorman v. Bartch, 152 F.3d 907, 914 (8th Cir. 1998)
(internal citations omitted). “[R]igorous standards of
culpability and causation must be applied to ensure that the
[county] is not held liable solely for the actions of its
employee” in cases where a plaintiff claims a county
has caused an employee to violate the plaintiff's