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Longston v. Runion

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

August 7, 2018

DARRELL LONGSTON PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF JACKIE RUNION, WARDEN JEFFIE WALKER, CAPTAIN GOLDEN ADAMS, SERGEANT ALLEN GRIFFEN, LIEUTENANT MILLER, CORPORAL HANNING, and NURSE KING 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, 5). His application to proceed IFP was granted on May 18, 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 “inadequate and unsanitary housing.” (ECF No. 4 at 4). He alleges that the unsanitary conditions gave him rashes and caused him to have difficulty breathing. (Id. at 5). He further alleges Nurse King denied him medical care for his rashes and breathing difficulties “due to the issues I wrote on my sick call request 2, 847, 633.” (Id. at 5).

         Plaintiff proceeds against Defendants in their official and personal capacity. (Id. at 5, 6). Plaintiff 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. Jail Conditions

         Plaintiff failed to state a plausible claim against any Defendant for “inadequate and unsanitary” conditions at the MCDC. “[W]hen the State takes a person into its custody and holds him there against his will, the Constitution imposes upon it a corresponding duty to assume some responsibility for his safety and general well-being.” Cty. of Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833 (1998) (citation omitted). The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. Const. amend. VIII. Detention centers must provide pretrial detainees with “reasonably adequate sanitation, personal hygiene, and laundry privileges . . . .” Beaulieu v. Ludeman, 690 F.3d 1017, 1045 (8th Cir. 2012) (quoting Howard v. Adkison, 887 F.2d 134, 137 (8th Cir. 1989)). The Eighth Amendment also prohibits punishments that deprive inmates of the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities. Smith v. Copeland, 87 F.3d 265, 268 (8th Cir. 1996); see also Hall v. Dalton, 34 F.3d 648, 650 (8th Cir. 1994) (“[I]n this circuit, the standards applied to Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment claims have been the same.”).

         A prisoner alleging an Eighth Amendment violation must prove both an objective and subjective element. See Revels v. Vincenz,382 F.3d 870, 875 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing Wilson v. Seiter,501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991)). “The defendant's conduct must objectively rise to the level of a constitutional violation by depriving the plaintiff of the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities. The defendant's conduct must also reflect a subjective state of mind evincing deliberate indifference to the health or safety of the prisoner.” Revels, 382 F.3d at 875 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Deliberate indifference is established when the Plaintiff shows “the defendant was substantially aware of but disregarded an excessive risk to inmate health or safety.” Id. The standards against which a court measures prison conditions are “the evolving standards of ...


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