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Wilson v. Holloway

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division

March 5, 2018

JACOB LEE WILSON PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF SHAWN HOLLOWAY, Benton County, Arkansas; LIEUTENANT ROBIN HOLT; DAWN OSBORNE, Kitchen Osborne; and THEMA SNODGRASS, Kitchen Lead DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STAJES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, Jacob L. Wilson, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. He proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. He names as Defendants Sheriff Holloway, Lieutenant Holt, Dawn Osborne, and Thema Snodgrass.

         The 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).

         I. BACKGROUND

         According to the allegations of the Complaint (Doc. 1), on January 10, 2018, inmates at the Benton County Detention Center ("BCDC") were served contaminated food. The contaminated food caused inmates throughout the jail to become sick. Plaintiff states that the food poisoning came "from the hands of the kitchen staff." He alleges that Defendants were negligent in their job performance.

         Plaintiff alleges that after lunch on January 10, 2018, he was on lock-down for a nap. Ten minutes after lock-down, Plaintiff alleges that he had to run "to the toilet and threw up and started having explosive [diarrhea] afterwards." He asserts that he was sick for about a week with diarrhea and stomach pains.

         Plaintiff makes no specific allegations against any of the named Defendants. Plaintiff sues the Defendants in both their individual and official capacities. As relief, he asks for compensatory damages and punitive damages.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under 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) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         A claim 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 Atl. 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)).

         However, mere conclusory allegations with no supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be based. Allen v. Purkett, 5 F.3d 1151, 1153 (8th Cir. 1993); see also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004). "[A] pro se plaintiff requires no special legal training to recount the facts surrounding his alleged injury, and he must provide such facts if the court is to determine whether he makes out a claim on which relief can be granted." Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991) (citations omitted).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Section 1983 provides a federal cause of action for the deprivation, under color of law, of a citizen's "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" of the United States. In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff must allege that the defendant acted under color of state law and that he violated a right secured by the Constitution. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42 (1988); Dunham v. Wadley, 195 F.3d 1007, 1009 (8th Cir. 1999). The deprivation must be intentional; mere negligence will not suffice to state a claim for deprivation of a constitutional right under § 1983. Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986); Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344 (1986). Job negligence is insufficient as a matter of law.

         Assuming for purposes of this screening that Plaintiff is also asserting that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference when serving him contaminated food, the Court will review the Plaintiff's claim under Eighth Amendment standards. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment.[1] U.S. Const, amend. VIII. The Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment forbids conditions that involve the "wanton and unnecessary infliction of ...


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