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Powell v. Runion

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

August 7, 2018

TONY POWELL PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF JACKIE RUNION, WARDEN JEFFIE WALKER, CAPTAIN GOLDEN ADAMS, SERGEANT ALLEN GRIFFEN, LIEUTENANT MILLER, and CORPORAL HANNING DEFENDANTS

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This is a civil rights action provisionally filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)(2011), the Honorable Susan O. Hickey, United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a Report and Recommendation.

         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

         Plaintiff filed his initial Complaint on April 25, 2018. (ECF No. 1). That same day, the Court directed Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint to clarify his claims against Defendants and to submit an application to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). (ECF No. 2). On May 11, Plaintiff filed his IFP application and Amended Complaint. (ECF Nos. 4, 7). His application to proceed IFP was granted on May 14, 2018. (ECF No. 8).

         Plaintiff alleges his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated in the Miller County Detention Center (MCDC) as a pretrial detainee. Plaintiff alleges his rights were violated by unidentified “jail conditions” which were “unsafe and unsanitary.” (ECF No. 7 at 4-5). He alleges he submitted multiple requests and grievances, but “no action was taken by the proper authority to fix [the conditions].” (Id.).

         Plaintiff proceeds against all Defendants in their official and personal capacity. (Id. at 4). He seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. 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 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)). 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).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Response to Grievances

         Plaintiff failed to state a plausible claim against Defendants based on their lack of response to his grievances. The Eighth Circuit has made it clear prisoners do not have a constitutional right to a prison grievance procedure. Lomholt v. Holder, 287 F.3d 683, 684 (8th Cir. 2002) (no claim when “various defendants denied his grievances or otherwise refused to help him”); Buckley v. Barlow, 997 F.2d 494, 495 (8th Cir.1993) (no claim when defendants failed to timely and properly respond to a grievance). Thus, a prison official's failure to properly respond to a grievance, standing alone, is not actionable under § 1983. Id. As there is no constitutional right to either a grievance procedure or a grievance response, Plaintiff failed to state a plausible claim based on Defendants' lack of response to his grievances.

         B. ...


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