United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
J. FELIX FERNANDO CORONA-CERVANTES PLAINTIFF
DEPUTY MORGAN; CORPORAL ATCHLEY; and JOHN OR JANE DOE FOOD SERVICE WORKERS DEFENDANTS
OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights case filed by the Plaintiff J. Felix Fernando
Corona-Cervantes pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis
("IFP"). Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the
Cummins Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction. The
events subject to this action occurred in the Washington
County Detention Center ("WCDC").
the Court for screening is the Amended Complaint (Doc. 15)
filed by Plaintiff on September8, 2017. The 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 Amended Complaint, after Plaintiff
was sentenced to a period of imprisonment, he was booked into
the WCDC. The Amended Complaint is not a model of clarity.
Plaintiff appears to be asserting a claim against Deputy
Morgan because in January of 2017 he only provided the
Plaintiff with a blanket to sit on to provide relief from
hemorrhoids. Plaintiff mentions a doctor but does not state
what treatment, if any, the doctor, who is not a party to
this lawsuit, ordered for Plaintiffs hemorrhoids problem.
respect to Corporal Atshley, Plaintiff alleges he lost the
certificate of inmate account form that Plaintiff needed
completed as part of his IFP application. Plaintiff indicates
he does not speak English well enough to get Corporal Atshley
or Corporal Mulvaney to understand what he needed.
Plaintiff names John or Jane Doe food service workers because
the food tasted bad, was not nutritious, upset his stomach,
and caused him to lose weight. Plaintiff further alleges his
grievances about the food went unanswered and the menu was
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." Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Court
bears in mind, however, 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
Amended Complaint asserts no plausible claims. First,
Plaintiffs claim against Deputy Morgan is subject to
dismissal. To prove a denial of medical care claim, Plaintiff
must establish that: (1) he was suffering from a serious
medical need; and (2) the Defendant actually knew of but
deliberately disregarded those needs. Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 925, 827 (1994). "Deliberate
indifference is the equivalent of criminal law
recklessness--a prison official must both be aware of facts
from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial
risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the
inference." Hartsfield v. Colburn, 491 F.3d
394, 396 (8th Cir. 2007)(internal quotation marks and
has not alleged enough specific facts to assert a plausible
claim against Deputy Morgan. Assuming hemorrhoids constitute
a serious medical need, Plaintiff has not alleged that Deputy
Morgan ignored an order entered by the doctor or that Deputy
Morgan ignored an acute or escalating situation.
Plaintiff has alleged Corporal Atshley lost his certificate
of inmate account and assets that must be submitted with his
IFP application. Plaintiff filed the original complaint (Doc.
1) on June 6, 2017. His application to proceed IFP (Doc. 2)
contained a blank certificate of inmate account and assets
form. For this reason, an order (Doc. 3) was entered giving
Plaintiff until June 21, 2017, to submit a completed form.
The completed certificate of inmate account and assets (Doc.
5), signed by Corporal Tom Mulvaney, was filed on June 20,
2017. The following day, an order (Doc. 6) was entered
granting the IFP application.
fundamental constitutional right of access to the courts
requires prison authorities to assist inmates in the
preparation and filing of meaningful legal papers by
providing prisoners with adequate law libraries or adequate
assistance from persons trained in the law." Bounds
v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 828 (1977). However,
Bounds "did not create an abstract freestanding
right to a law library or legal assistance, " rather, an
inmate who alleges an access violation must show actual
injury, i.e., "that a nonfrivolous legal claim
had been frustrated or was being impeded." Lewis v.
Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351-53 (1996); see also Klinger
v. Dep't of Corr., 107 F.3d 609, 617 (8th Cir.1997)
(to prevail on access-to-courts claim, inmate must show
actual injury or prejudice even if denial of access to
library is complete and systematic). Plaintiffs claim fails
as a matter of law because he has not alleged the existence
of any actual injury.
Plaintiff has failed to allege a plausible claim based on the
diet he was served. The Eighth Amendment's prohibition
against cruel and unusual punishment is violated if an inmate
is not provided with meals adequate to maintain his health.
Wishon v. Gammon,978 F.2d 446, 449 (8th Cir.
1992)(prisoners have a right to nutritionally adequate food);
Campbell v. Cauthron,623 F.2d 503, 508 (8th Cir.
1980)(prisoners are guaranteed a reasonably adequate diet).
To prevail on an Eighth Amendment ...