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Jefferson v. Stapleton

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

August 21, 2018

AARIS D. JEFFERSON, SR. PLAINTIFF
v.
LIEUTENANT SHAWN STAPLETON, CORPORAL STEED, DEPUTY COOLIS, DEPUTY BATES, CAPTAIN HALVERSON, and SERGEANT CARTER All of Garland County Detention Center DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

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

         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 Complaint on May 22, 2018. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff alleges his federal constitutional rights were violated when he was incarcerated in the Garland County Detention Center (GCDC). (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff alleges that on January 13, 2018, he was attacked in the dayroom of “housing D” by an Arkansas Department of Correction inmate returning for court. As part of the incident, Plaintiff alleges he was pepper-sprayed, taken to medical, and then escorted to isolation. (Id. at 9). Plaintiff alleges Defendants Coolis and Stapleton failed to protect him from this attack. (Id.).

         Plaintiff attached grievance documents concerning the January incident. The final appeal response stated Plaintiff was of the same inmate classification status as the other inmate involved in the classification, and nothing in Plaintiff's inmate file indicated he could not be near this inmate. (Id. at 4). The response also stated Plaintiff received a disciplinary hearing for the incident, and that Plaintiff admitted to engaging in “mutual combat” with the inmate at the hearing. (Id.).

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants Bates, Halverson, and Carter failed to protect him on March 3, 2015. (Id. at 10). Plaintiff does not describe any incident for this date, instead stating only that regular inmates were housed with inmates of a different status. (Id.).

         Plaintiff proceeds against Defendants in their official capacity. (Id. at 9, 10). He seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 12).

         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. Defendant Steed

         Plaintiff lists Defendant Steed at the beginning of his Complaint but does not name him as an individual involved in any of his claims. Without some personal involvement, Steed cannot be held liable under § 1983. See e.g., Mark v. Nix, 983 F.2d 138, 139-40 (8th Cir. 1993) (section 1983 liability requires some personal involvement or responsibility). Plaintiff, therefore, fails to state a plausible claim against Defendant Steed.

         B. March ...


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