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Gross v. Holloway

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

March 5, 2019




         Karl Duane Gross, 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 Sheriff Holloway, Deputy Kohler, Deputy Meadows, Nurse Jessie, Deputy Skaggs, and the John Doe co-workers of Deputy Meadows.

         Plaintiffs Complaint (Doc. 1) 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

         According to the allegations of the Complaint, on December 13, 2018, Plaintiff alleges that he was denied a mat to sleep on and instead given what is referred to as a "suicide blanket." He identifies the Defendants involved as Deputy Meadows and his "fellow shift co-workers." Plaintiff alleges he was told later that there were mats in the supply closet. Plaintiff contends that because he slept on the concrete floor with only a suicide blanket for padding, his tail bone, elbows, hips, and shoulders were bruised.

         Next, Plaintiff alleges he was denied immediate medical attention on December 21, 2018, by Nurse Jessie and Deputy Skaggs. Plaintiff states he went to nurse call and "presented [his] eye to nurse and deputy and they both seemed to not care [he] had an inflamed bleeding bloodshot eye." He was told to put in a medical request. Plaintiff believed it was an "emergency due to [his] to it being [his] sight at risk." On an attachment to his Complaint, Plaintiff asserted that as of December 26, 2018, he was still suffering from loss of vision, infection, severe pain, and inflammation.

         Finally, Plaintiff alleges that on December 22, 2018, at 10:00 am, Deputy Kohler openly "disrespected" Plaintiff "in front of his co-workers." Specifically, Plaintiff alleges Deputy Kohler humiliated him in connection with his last name. Plaintiff alleges Deputy Kohler would not allow him to be placed back in his housing unit until Deputy Kohler was "satisfied with [Plaintiffs] public humiliation." Plaintiff also alleges that Deputies Kohler and Skaggs "disrespected" him and slandered him because his last name is Gross, and his eye looked "gross." He states he was in severe pain while they were making fun of him.


         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." 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)).


         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).

         1. Sleeping on the Floor

         Plaintiff alleges he was forced to sleep on the concrete floor with only a "suicide blanket" for a single night. This allegation does not state a cognizable claim under § 1983. See, e.g., Hamilton v. Mauldin, 2015 WL 898080, at *2 (W.D. Ark. Mar. 3, 2015) (requiring inmate to sleep on floor without a mattress and with only a blanket and two sheets for seven or eight nights not a constitutional violation) (citing O'Leary v. Iowa State Men's Reformatory,79 F.3d 82, 84 (8th Cir. 1996) (inmate forced to spend four days sleeping on a concrete slab without a blanket or mattress did not state a constitutional violation)); Williams v. Delo,49 F.3d 442 (8th Cir.1995) (holding that four days without water, a mattress, bedding, clothing, legal mail, or hygienic supplies did not violate the Eighth Amendment); see also Desroche v. Strain,507 F.Supp.2d 571, 579-80 (E.D. La. 2007) (sleeping on the floor in a crowded holding tank for ten days failed to state a constitutional ...

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