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Bara v. Litzsinger

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

July 19, 2018

JEREMY R. BARA PLAINTIFF
v.
DEPUTY LITZINGER, Washington County Detention Center DEFENDANT

          OPINION AND ORDER

          P. K. HOLMES, III CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, Jeremy R. Bara, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. He proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. Plaintiff is incarcerated in the Washington County Detention Center (WCDC). Plaintiff maintains his constitutional rights were violated when the Defendant used excessive physical force against him.

         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 (ECF No. 1), when inmates are brought in from yard call they are subject to being searched while placed along a wall. Plaintiff alleges that on June 25, 2018, Defendant “kicked” his right ankle without first asking him to spread his legs. Plaintiff maintains his right ankle was injured.

         Plaintiff asserts that he was immediately taken to see the nurse, who concluded it “looked like a busted blood vessel.” Plaintiff was prescribed Naproxen and an ice pack.

         Plaintiff has sued the Defendant in both his individual and official capacities. As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory 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

         Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee. (ECF No. 1 at 3). The Supreme Court has held that a pretrial detainee's excessive force claim should be analyzed under an objective reasonableness standard. Kingsley v. Hendrickson, et al, ___ U.S.___, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2473 (2015). The objective reasonableness of a use of force "turns on the 'facts and circumstances of each particular case.'" Id. (quoting Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989)). The determination should be made:

from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene. A court must also account for the "legitimate interests that stem from [the government's] need to manage the facility in which the individual is detained," appropriately deferring to "policies and practices that in th[e] judgment" of jail officials "are needed to preserve internal ...

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