United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
HOLMES, III CHIEF U.S. 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. § 1915A(a).
filed his Complaint on August 31, 2017. (ECF No. 1). He
alleges the denial of medical care while incarcerated at the
Sebastian County Detention Center. Specifically, he alleges
that, while under the influence of alcohol, he hit the door
of his cell once with both hands and broke bones in both
hands. Plaintiff alleges that when he asked for help,
Defendant Nurse Cindy looked at his hands and told him they
were not broken, he only had a hematoma. When Plaintiff was
bonded out, he believes a day or two later, he went to the
local emergency room and was told his hands were broken. He
required orthopedic surgery, and one hand is still deformed.
Plaintiff believes that if he had been taken immediately to
the emergency room much of his pain, suffering, and
subsequent deformity could have been prevented. (ECF No. 1 at
6-7). Plaintiff alleges that the Sheriff was
“over” the Captain, and the Captain was
“over” the nurse who refused him treatment.
proceeds against all Defendants in their official capacity
only. (ECF No.1 at 4). Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages.
(ECF No. 1 at 5).
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 (8 Cir. 1985).
has failed to state a plausible official capacity claim
against any Defendant. 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. See Hafer v. Melo, 502
U.S. 21, 112 S.Ct. 358, 116 L.Ed.2d 301 (1991). 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.
Id. 502 U.S. at 24B27, 112 S.Ct. at 361B62 (1991).
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. Id. 502 U.S. at 25B27, 112 S.Ct. at 362.
Gorman, 152 F.3d 907, 914 (8th Cir. 1998).
A[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 constitutional rights. Board of County
Commissioners, Oklahoma v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 405
Plaintiff has not alleged that the denial of medical care for
his hands was the result of any custom or policy of Sebastian
County. Plaintiff has therefore failed to ...