United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
PARNELL R. MAY PLAINTIFF
PULASKI COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, et al. DEFENDANTS
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following proposed Findings and Recommendation have been sent
to United States District Judge J. Leon Holmes. You may file
written objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If
you do so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain
the factual and/or legal basis for your objection, and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days
of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the
right to appeal questions of fact.
Parnell May, an inmate at the Pulaski County Regional
Detention Facility, filed a pro se complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on November 9, 2017 (Doc.
No. 1). May was subsequently granted leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. See Doc. No. 5. May was also
ordered to file an amended complaint identifying claims
relating to only one issue, containing a short statement of
the specific role each defendant had in the alleged
constitutional violations, and describing the injuries he
sustained. Id. May was further directed to describe
any individuals he intends to sue and to specify whether he
is suing individual defendants in their official and/or
individual capacities. Id. May subsequently filed an
amended complaint, an addendum, and two notices (Doc. Nos.
law requires courts to screen prisoner complaints. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, 1915(e)(2). Claims that are legally frivolous
or malicious; that fail to state a claim for relief; or that
seek money from a defendant who is immune from paying damages
should be dismissed before the defendants are served. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, 1915(e)(2). Although a complaint
requires only a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, the factual
allegations set forth therein must be sufficient to raise the
right to relief above the speculative level. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corporation v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (“a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds'
of his ‘entitle[ment]to relief' requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do. . . .”).
Although a pro se complaint is construed liberally,
it must contain enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face, not merely conceivable.
sues the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office and the Pulaski
County Detention Facility. He claims he was falsely
arrested and defamed and also complains that he is
in administrative confinement. Doc. No. 6 at 4. In his
Addendum, May states that he is “seeking to litigate
the ‘official capacity' of a county employee that
is understood to be treated as a suit against the
county.” Doc. No. 7 at 1.
the Pulaski County Sheriff's office nor the Pulaski
County Detention Facility is an entity subject to suit under
§ 1983. See De La Garza v. Kandiyohi Cty. Jail,
Corr. Inst., 18 F. App'x 436, 437 (8th Cir. 2001).
To the extent May is trying to sue other defendants in their
official capacities, he fails to state a claim. A suit
against county employees in their official capacities is in
essence a suit against the County itself. See Murray v.
Lene, 595 F.3d 868 (8th Cir. 2010); Liebe v.
Norton, 157 F.3d 574 (8th Cir. 1998). A municipality
cannot be held liable on the basis of respondeat
superior, or simply by virtue of being the employer of a
tortfeasor. Atkinson v. City of Mountain View, Mo.,
709 F.3d 1201 (8th Cir. 2013). Accordingly, county employees
can only be held liable in their official capacities in this
case if May can establish that a constitutional violation was
committed pursuant to “an official custom, policy, or
practice of the governmental entity.” Moyle v.
Anderson, 571 F.3d 814, 817 (8th Cir. 2009). May claims
that his rights were violated by Pulaski County employees
“under a pretexted customs policy and practice.”
See Doc. No. 6 at 4. May also claims that the
Pulaski County Sheriff's Office authorized a detective
“by law to exercise the custom, policy, and the
practice of the arrest, that, was under the pretext of a
probable cause.” Doc. No. 7 at 1. However, May does not
identify or otherwise describe any county policy behind the
claimed violations of his constitutional rights. Accordingly,
the undersigned recommends that May's complaint be
dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted.
reasons stated herein, it is recommended that:
1. May's complaint be dismissed without prejudice for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
2. Dismissal of this action count as a “strike”
within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
3. The Court certify, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3), that an in forma pauperis appeal from
the order adopting this recommendation would not be taken in