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Yates v. Holloway

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

January 31, 2019

CHRISTOPHER CELEDEN YATES PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF SHAWN HOLLOWAY, Benton County, Arkansas; and SHOP SUPERVISOR JAMES BOUDREAX, Benton County Detention Center DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY L. BROOKS JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Christopher C. Yates, currently an inmate of the Benton County Detention Center ("BCDC"), has filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis ("IFP"). Plaintiff has named as Defendants the Benton County Sheriff, Shawn Holloway, and the Shop Supervisor at the BCDC, James Boudreax. Plaintiff has sued Defendants in both their individual and official capacities.

         Plaintiffs Complaint (Doc. 1) and Supplement (Doc. 4) thereto are 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

         While he was working in the shop as part of a work detail program, Plaintiff alleges Supervisor Boudreax had him use County assets including a welder, grinder, tree machine, etc., to complete Supervisor Boudreax's personal projects. Plaintiff alleges that stealing from the government constitutes a felony offense. He indicates an internal investigation "proved [his] credibility," and his version of the events was found to have merit.

         Plaintiff maintains that Supervisor Boudreax's actions violated the laws against human trafficking, extortion, and involuntary servitude and that Sheriff Helder "allowed these to happen to me in his care." He has requested a trial by jury.[1]

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks "[e]nough funding to start a business" ($300, 000 to $400, 000) and "immunity for the amount of time evidence is to be held for violent crimes." Additionally, he seeks payment of all legal costs.

         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) seek 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." BellAtl. 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)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         "The essential elements of a § 1983 claim are (1) that the defendant(s) acted under color of state law, and (2) that the alleged wrongful conduct deprived the plaintiff of a constitutionally protected federal right." Schmidt v. City of Bella Vista, 557 F.3d 564, 571 (8th Cir. 2009). Section 1983 creates no substantive rights but prohibits the deprivation of rights established by the United States Constitution or federal laws. City of Okla. City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 816 (1985). To state a claim, plaintiff must establish that each defendant "personally violated plaintiffs constitutional rights." Jackson v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 543 (8th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted).

         Defendants clearly were acting under color of law. The focus in this case is on the second element.

         A. ...


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