United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following proposed Findings and Recommendation have been sent
to United States District Judge James M. Moody Jr. You may
file written objections to all or part of this
Recommendation. If you do so, those objections must: (1)
specifically explain the factual and/or legal basis for your
objection, and (2) be received by the Clerk of this Court
within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. By not
objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of
Jonathon Stewart Davis, a pretrial detainee at the Pulaski
County Detention Facility, filed a pro se complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that he was put in
lockdown status when he should be in the general population.
Doc. No. 3. Davis was instructed to file an amended complaint
describing the conditions he endured while on lockdown, how
he was injured, and why he sues Sheriff Holladay.
See Doc. No. 5. Davis was warned that an amended
complaint would render his original complaint without legal
effect and that only claims properly set out in the amended
complaint will be allowed to proceed. Id. Davis
subsequently filed an addendum to his complaint. See
Doc. No. 6.
law requires courts to screen prisoner complaints. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, 1915(e)(2). Claims that are legally frivolous
or malicious; that fail to state a claim for relief; or that
seek money from a defendant who is immune from paying damages
should be dismissed before the defendants are served. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A, 1915(e)(2). Although a complaint
requires only a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, the factual
allegations set forth therein must be sufficient to raise the
right to relief above the speculative level. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corporation v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (“a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds'
of his ‘entitle[ment]to relief' requires more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do. . . .”).
While construed liberally, a pro se complaint must
contain enough facts to state a claim for relief that is
plausible on its face, not merely conceivable.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that the conduct of a defendant acting under color of
state law deprived him of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the United States Constitution or by federal law.
42 U.S.C. § 1983. In Davis' addendum, he claims that
due to lack of jail staff, he is being treated differently
than other inmates in other units in that he is forced to
stay in his cell for hours on end with no access to showers
or the phone. Doc. No. 6. Davis also alleges he is forced to
eat meals in his cell where his toilet is. Id. Davis
claims these conditions cause him stress that could affect
his heart condition. Id. Liberally construing
Davis' complaint, it appears he may be attempting to
raise a conditions of confinement claim based on his lockdown
status and/or an equal protection claim.
of Confinement. In order to support an Eighth Amendment
violation, a plaintiff must prove the existence of
objectively harsh conditions of confinement, together with a
subjectively culpable state of mind by prison officials in
condoning or creating the conditions. Choate v.
Lockhart, 7 F.3d 1370, 1373 (8th Cir. 1993). 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 v. Vincenz, 382 F.3d 870,
875 (8th Cir. 2004) (quoting Rhodes v. Chapman, 452
U.S. 337, 342 (1981) and Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 104 (1977)). “[D]iscomfort compelled by conditions
of confinement, without more, does not violate the
amendment.” Smith v. Coughlin, 748 F.2d 783,
787 (2nd Cir. 1984) (quoting Jackson v. Meachum, 699
F.2d 578, 581 (1st Cir. 1983)).
has not alleged facts showing that he was denied life's
necessities such as food, shelter, and water or that he has
suffered the unnecessary or wanton infliction of pain. Davis
only alleges that he is not allowed to shower or use the
phone while he is locked down and that he must eat in his
cell where there is a toilet. These facts are insufficient to
state an Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim.
Furthermore, Davis alleges no injury as a result of these
incidents. Because a § 1983 action is a type of tort
claim, general principles of tort law require that a
plaintiff suffer some actual injury before he can receive
compensation. See Irving v. Dormire, 519 F.3d 441,
448 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing Carey v. Piphus, 435
U.S. 247, 253-55 (1978)). Davis' Eighth Amendment claims
should therefore be dismissed for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted.
Protection. To the extent Davis attempts to state an
equal protection claim, he fails to state sufficient facts to
support such a claim. He does not allege that he is a member
of a protected class or that he was
“‘intentionally treated differently from others
similarly situated and that there is no rational basis for
the difference in treatment.'” See Nolan v.
Thompson, 521 F.3d 989 (8th Cir. 2008) (quoting
Village of Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S. 562, 564
(2000)). In fact, he does not identify or provide any
description of the other inmates who are treated differently.
Accordingly, Davis' equal protection claims should be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
Even if Davis' allegations could be construed to state
viable constitutional claims, he has not described how
Sheriff Holladay was personally involved in creating the
conditions he alleges he must endure. To the extent Davis
seeks to hold Holladay accountable as sheriff, Davis'
claims fail. The law is clear that respondeat
superior is not a recognized basis for § 1983
liability. See Keeper v. King, 130 F.3d 1309 (8th
Cir. 1997). To state a cognizable claim against a defendant
in a supervisory role, an inmate must allege that the
defendant was personally involved in the constitutional
violation or became aware of the constitutional violation
and, with deliberate indifference, failed to take corrective
action. See, e.g., Choate v. Lockhart, 7 F.3d 1370,
1376 (8th Cir. 1993). Finally, Davis names the Pulaski County
Detention Facility as a defendant. A detention center is not
an entity subject to suit under § 1983. See De La
Garza v. Kandiyohi Cty. Jail, Corr. Inst., 18 Fed.Appx.
436, 437 (8th Cir. 2001).