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Davis v. Watson

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

April 9, 2018

LARRY DAVID DAVIS PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF JASON WATSON; JAIL ADMINISTRATOR DERRICK BARNES; GUARD ALEX BOLZ; SAM BURDETTE; and MASON SI ANDREW DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          Susan O. Hickey United States District Judge

         This 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

         Plaintiff Larry David Davis filed his Complaint on January 12, 2018. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff filed a completed IFP application on February 26, 2018. (ECF No. 10). He alleges his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated in the Clark County Jail. (ECF No. 1 at 2). Plaintiff's Complaint lists five numbered claims, which the Court will now describe.

         For Claim One, Plaintiff alleges he was denied medical care from July through December.[1]Plaintiff alleges he informed the guards that he had kidney damage and needed to see a doctor, but he was never taken to see anyone concerning his kidneys. Plaintiff names Defendants Barnes, Burdette, and “Mason SI Andrew” for this claim. (ECF No. 1 at 4). In an attachment to his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges he was scheduled to see his normal doctor on July 1, 2017, but he missed the appointment because he had been arrested. Plaintiff alleges the last time he saw his normal doctor, she told him that if his kidneys did not improve, “she was going to send [him] to see a kidney specialist.” (ECF No. 1 at 16). Plaintiff alleges his side hurts where his kidneys are located. (ECF No. 1 at 16).

         For Claim Two, Plaintiff alleges he was denied hot food three times a day from May 19, 2017, through December 29, 2017, and notes that he is diabetic and suffers from high blood pressure. Plaintiff further states the meals consisted of cereal, fresh fruit, bologna or salami sandwiches on white bread, and a small bag of chips. (ECF No. 1 at 5). However, in the section for describing a custom or policy in relation to an official capacity claim, Plaintiff also alleges multiple other constitutional violations: there was no yard call from May 19, 2017, through October 20, 2017; no hot meals from May 19, 2017, through December 30, 2017; mold in the shower; no law library; no kitchen for hot meals; no doctor or nurse on staff; and no diabetic meals. Plaintiff further alleges all mail was read by staff, including legal mail; the toilets did not work; and there was no glass in the window of the cell he was sleeping in over the winter and it was freezing cold. Plaintiff alleges the building has been condemned, but prisoners are still being kept in it. (ECF No. 1 at 6). On additional pages attached to his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges eighty-five percent of the cell toilets did not work, and he had to go to another inmate's cell to use the toilet. (ECF No. 1 at 9). Plaintiff alleges the sink in his cell did not work, making it impossible for him to drink from it. (ECF No. 1 at 8).

         Plaintiff alleges the weather was nice, but the inmates were kept inside and denied yard call simply because the guards could do so. (ECF No. 1 at 6, 10). Plaintiff further alleges he was denied a diabetic snack, and his sugar levels were in the fifties and sixties at night before lockdown. When Plaintiff asked for a diabetic snack, he was allegedly given an apple. (ECF No. 1 at 15). For Claim Two, Plaintiff names Defendants Barnes, “Mason unknown, ” Burdette, Bolz, and Watson.[2] (ECF No. 1 at 5).

         For Claim Three, Plaintiff alleges there was no law library and no law library call from May 19, 2017, through January 1, 2018. Plaintiff names Defendants Watson and Barnes for this claim. (ECF No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff alleges the facility “does not have a law library.” Instead, he alleges there is a small room the size of a cell with 20 or 30 outdated books. He alleges there was no law library call for “the last 7 months.” (ECF No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff alleges this affected him in the following way:

I could do no research on my charge or my legal rights in they [sic] court which caused me not to be able to prepare myself for my rights it help [sic] them to violate the inmates rights not having a law library.

(ECF No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff alleges “they should have been having law library call at least once a week.” (ECF No. 1 at 7).

         On additional sheets of paper, Plaintiff labels allegations as Claims Four and Five. The text of these claims, however, appear to provide narrative concerning Plaintiff's Claims One and Two. (ECF No. 1 at 9-17). The Court will therefore not address these as separate claims.

         Plaintiff proceeds against the Defendants for Claims One and Three in their official and individual capacities. (ECF No. 1 at 4, 6). Plaintiff proceeds against the Defendants in Claim Two in their official capacities only. (ECF No. 1 at 5). Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (ECF No. 1 at 7).

         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) 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.” 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 ...


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