Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jones v. Helder

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

March 5, 2019

EZRA JOE JONES PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF TIM HELDER; KARAS MEDICAL; DOCTOR KARAS; DEPUTY PINEDA; DEPUTY LUNDSFORD; DEPUTY PARTAIN; and DEPUTY SIMPSON DEFENDANT

          OPINION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY L. BROOKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. 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.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on December 28, 2018. (Doc. 1). That same day, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 3). An Amended Complaint was filed on February 13, 2019. (Doc. 7).

         According to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, he is currently in jail in the Washington County Detention Center ("WCDC") awaiting trial on pending new criminal charges and a parole violation. The Amended Complaint lists five claims. In the first claim, Plaintiff names Karas Medical, Dr. Karas and Sheriff Helder, in both their official and personal capacities, and asserts that these Defendants denied him pain medication. Plaintiff's second claim names Sheriff Helder in both his personal and official capacity and asserts a claim for unconstitutional conditions of confinement with respect to overcrowding. Plaintiffs third claim also asserts a claim for conditions of confinement, naming Sheriff Helder and unknown deputies, and discusses both overcrowding and the alleged denial of a second sleeping mat. In his fourth claim, Plaintiff names Sheriff Helder, Deputy Pineda, Deputy Lundsford, and Deputy Partain and asserts that the WCDC lacks "a functioning grievance procedure." Finally, Plaintiffs fifth claim names Sheriff Helder, Deputy Simpson and Deputy Partain and asserts a claim for cruel and unusual punishment involving a canister of pepper spray.

         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 Atl. 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. DISCUSSION

         A. Claim #1

         As set forth above, Plaintiffs first claim is stated both individually and officially against Karas Medical, Dr. Karas, and Sheriff Helder. Plaintiff states that Karas Medical repeatedly denied Plaintiff pain medication to alleviate or prevent excessive pain. Plaintiff states that "Dr. Karas owns/oversees operations of Karas Medical" and that Sheriff Helder "hired/allows Karas to operate in the facility on those in his care." (Doc No. 7 at 4).

         Plaintiff's claim against Sheriff Helder in his individual capacity fails, as he does not allege that Sheriff Helder directly participated in any alleged unconstitutional violation concerning the denial of pain medication. "Liability under § 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct responsibility for, the deprivation of rights." Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted). "A supervisor is not vicariously liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for an employee's unconstitutional activity." White v. Holmes, 21 F.3d 277, 280 (8th Cir. 1994). Instead, the supervisor must be personally involved in the alleged constitutional violation or his inaction must constitute deliberate indifference towards the constitutional violation. Boyd v. Knox, 47 F.3d 966, 968 (8th Cir. 1995). Because the Plaintiff has failed to include any allegations of personal involvement by Sheriff Helder, he has failed to assert a claim against Sheriff Helder in his individual capacity based on the denial of pain medication.

         Plaintiffs individual capacity claim against Dr. Karas for the denial of pain medication will be allowed to proceed.

         As to Plaintiff's official capacity claim against Karas Medical[1] and Sheriff Helder, in Gorman v. Bartch,152 F.3d 907 (8th Cir. 1998), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals discussed the distinction between individual ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.