United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
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.
Timothy Xavier Fields filed a pro se complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on December 27, 2017, while
incarcerated at the Lee County Jail (Doc. No. 2). The
defendants are Jimmy Williams, the mayor of Marianna, and
Martin Wilson, the Chief of the Marianna Police Department.
Fields was granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis and ordered to file an amended complaint
identifying claims relating to only one issue,  describing how
each defendant violated his constitutional rights, describing
how he was injured by each defendant's actions, and
explaining why he sued defendants in their official
capacities only. Doc. No. 3. Fields filed his amended
complaint on January 22, 2018, identifying at least five
separate issues and indicating he is suing defendants in
their official capacities only. See Doc. No. 4. For
the reasons stated herein, Fields' claims should be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
docketing the complaint, or as soon thereafter as
practicable, the Court must review the complaint to identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint if it: (1) is
frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure requires only “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” In Bell Atlantic Corporation v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), the Court stated,
“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. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ”
citing 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice
and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-236 (3d ed. 2004). A
complaint must contain enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face, not merely conceivable.
Twombly at 570. However, a pro se
plaintiff's allegations must be construed liberally.
Burke v. North Dakota Dept. of Corr. & Rehab.,
294 F.3d 1043, 1043-1044 (8th Cir.2002) (citations omitted).
original complaint sought an award of monetary damages. Doc.
No. 2 at 9. His amended complaint does not specify what
relief he seeks, but the Court notes that Fields has since
been transferred to the Arkansas Department of Corrections so
injunctive relief would be unavailable. See Doc.
Nos. 5 & 6. Fields sues defendants in their official
capacities only. See Doc. No. 4. Official capacity
claims are “functionally equivalent to a suit against
the employing governmental entity.” Veach v.
Bartels Lutheran Home, 627 F.3d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir.
2010). Thus, a suit against the defendants in their official
capacities is in essence a suit against the County or city
itself. See Murray v. Lene, 595 F.3d 868 (8th Cir.
2010); Liebe v. Norton, 157 F.3d 574 (8thCir. 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, the defendant city employees can only be held
liable in their official capacities in this case if Fields
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). Fields does not assert
that a custom or policy of the city of Marianna, Arkansas was
the moving force behind the claimed violations of his
constitutional rights. Accordingly, his complaint fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted and should be
reasons stated herein, it is recommended that:
1. Fields' 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 and accompanying