United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
CLIFTON O. SOLOMON PLAINTIFF
SHERIFF JACKIE RUNION, Miller County, Arkansas; WARDEN JEFFIE WALKER, Miller County Detention Center “MCDC”; CAPTAIN GOLDEN ADAMS, MCDC; SERGEANT ALLEN GRIFFEN, MCDC; and SERGEANT HANNING, MCDC DEFENDANTS
O. Hickey United States District Judge
a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff Clifton O. Solomon
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro
se and in forma pauperis. 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.
filed his initial Complaint on April 24, 2018. (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma
pauperis (“IFP”) was granted the same day.
(ECF No. 3). On April 26, 2018, the Court directed Plaintiff
to file an Amended Complaint to clarify his claims including
alleged conditions of confinement. (ECF No. 7). On May 11,
2018, Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 8).
is currently incarcerated in the Miller County Detention
Center (“MCDC”) awaiting trial on pending
criminal charges. (ECF No. 8, p. 3). Plaintiff is asserting
claims related to the conditions of the jail, as well as
failure to respond to his grievances. Specifically, Plaintiff
alleges that he personally sent a maintenance request to
Warden Walker, Captain Adams and Lieutenant
Miller. (ECF No. 8, p. 4). Plaintiff further
alleges that Sergeant Griffie intercepted his request and
told Plaintiff that if he did not like the conditions of the
jail, he could “bond out.” (Id.) In his
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff states he is suing Defendants
only in their official capacity.(Id.) Plaintiff is
seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Plaintiff also
states in his claim for relief a request for “hot food
and fix all Reported things Black mold is not good for
us.” (ECF No. 8, p. 7).
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.
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 Atlantic 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, even a pro se Plaintiff must allege
specific facts sufficient to support a claim. Martin v.
Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985).
to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Defendant Runion is the
Sheriff of Miller County, Defendant Walker is the Warden at
the MCDC, and Defendants Adams, Griffie and Hanning are
employed as officers at the MCDC. As previously stated,
Plaintiff sues these Defendants solely in their official
1983 provides a federal cause of action for the deprivation,
under color of state 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, a plaintiff must allege that a
defendant acted under color of state law and they 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). Under section 1983, a defendant may be
sued in either his individual capacity, or in his official
capacity, or claims may be stated against a defendant in both
his individual and his official capacities. Gorman v.
Bartch, 152 F.3d 907, 914 (8th Cir. 1998). With respect
to official capacity claims, they are “functionally
equivalent to a suit against the employing governmental
entity.” Veatch v. Bartels Lutheran Home, 627
F.3d 1254, 1257 (8th Cir. 2010). In other words,
Plaintiff's official capacity claims against Defendants
are treated as claims against Miller County. See Murray
v. Lene, 595 F.3d 868, 873 (8th Cir. 2010).
is well established that a municipality [or county] cannot be
held liable on a respondeat superior theory, that
is, solely because it employs a tortfeasor.”
Atkinson v. City of Mountain View, Mo., 709 F.3d
1201, 1214 (8th Cir. 2013). To establish Miller County's
liability under section 1983, “plaintiff must show 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) (citation omitted).
Plaintiff has not identified any policy, custom or practice
of Miller County that was the moving force behind his
allegations in the Amended Complaint regarding the jail's
conditions or grievances. Accordingly, Plaintiff has failed to
state a claim against any Defendant in their official