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Black v. Helder

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

March 13, 2018




         Plaintiff has filed this case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Washington County Detention Center ("WCDC").

         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 Amended Complaint (Doc. 11), from October 10 to October 16, 2017, because of a glitch in the commissary software, Plaintiff was not provided with what he characterizes as "indigent" supplies.[1] Plaintiff alleges that this caused him to "not [be] able to shower for about 6 days." Because he had not showered, Plaintiff states he was "harassed by detainees about cleanliness and threatened." He alleges that WCDC employee Kristy Smith allowed the use of the "non-user friendly and glitched software" for the "commissary business." He sues Smith in her personal capacity only.

         From November 10 to November 16, 2017, Plaintiff alleges that Deputy Keigly also refused to provide him with "indigent" supplies. Plaintiff also claims that Deputy Keigly refused to "check [the] validity of the indigents list." This was true despite the fact that Plaintiff told Deputy Keigly that he was indigent and also showed Deputy Keigly his inmate account on the kiosk. As a result, Plaintiff states he was unable to maintain his "cleanliness and hygiene" and was again harassed by other detainees. Plaintiff sues Deputy Keigly in his personal capacity only.

         On December 22, 2017, Plaintiff alleges Corporal Riley and Corporal Taylor "assaulted and slammed [him] into the utility door outside of F Block." Plaintiffs arm was twisted behind him and raised up so that it caused the muscles to be pulled and resulted in swelling in his shoulder. Plaintiff was then put in handcuffs. As a result of the injury to his shoulder, Plaintiff maintains that he was put on medication and given a muscle rub. Plaintiff sues Corporals Riley and Taylor in their personal capacities only.

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. He also asks for the WCDC to be investigated, the procedures reviewed, a pod by pod inspection to be performed, and an investigation of prescription distribution and medical treatment to be completed.


         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) seeks 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." BellAtl. 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)).

         Mere conclusory allegations, however, 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).


         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 ...

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