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Robinson v. Runion

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

August 7, 2018

MARQUIS ROBINSON PLAINTIFF
v.
JACKIE RUNION Miller County Sheriff, WARDEN JEFFIE WALKER, CAPTAIN GOLDEN ADAMS, SERGEANT ALLEN GRIFFEN, 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, 6). 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 “jail conditions.” (ECF No. 6 at 4, 5). He identifies these conditions as mold in the shower, water leaking from the ventilation, non-functional fire detectors, clogged drains in the shower, twenty-eight inmates living in “Max-D, ” and food which is sometimes served cold. (Id. at 6). He alleges he and other inmates reported “all kinds of things that do not work, ” but nothing was fixed. (Id. at 5).

         Plaintiff proceeds against all Defendants in their official capacity. (Id. at 5, 6). He seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 8).

         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

         Plaintiff failed to state any plausible official capacity claims against any Defendant. According to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Defendant Runion is the Sheriff of Miller County. Defendants Walker, Adams, Griffen, and Hanning are identified as employees of MCDC. Under Section 1983, a defendant may be sued in either his individual capacity, or in his official capacity, or in both. In Gorman v. Bartch, 152 F.3d 907 (8th Cir. 1998), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals discussed the distinction between individual and official capacity suits. As explained by the Court in Gorman:

“Claims against government actors in their individual capacities differ from those in their official capacities as to the type of conduct that is actionable and as to the type of defense that is available. See Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 112 S.Ct. 358, 116 L.Ed.2d 301 (1991). Claims against individuals in their official capacities are equivalent to claims against the entity for which they work; they require proof that a policy or custom of the entity violated the plaintiff's rights, and the only type of immunity available is one belonging to the entity itself. Id. 502 U.S. at 24-27, 112 S.Ct. at 361-62 (1991). Personal capacity claims, on the other hand, are those which allege personal liability for individual actions by ...

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