United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
KENNETH RAY ADAMS, JR. PLAINTIFF
NEELD, Corporal, Saline County Detention Facility DEFENDANT
following Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) has 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 the date of this Recommendation. If you do not file
objections, Judge Moody can adopt this Recommendation without
independently reviewing all of the evidence in the record. By
not objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of
Ray Adams, Jr. (“Adams”) is a pretrial detainee
in the Saline County Detention Facility (“SCDF”).
He has filed a pro se § 1983 Complaint and
Amended Complaint alleging that Defendant Corporal Neeld
(“Neeld”) violated his constitutional rights and
the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
Docs. 2 & 5. Before Adams may proceed with this
action, the Court must screen his allegations.
alleges that, on July 6, 2018: (1) Neeld opened, outside
Adams's presence, a large envelope containing
“confidential and legal documentations” regarding
Adams's claim for social security benefits; and (2) Adams
later discovered that three documents were missing, all of
which contained his social security number, home address and
case claim number. Doc. 2 at 4-5.
to Adams, the envelope was mailed to him at the SCDF by his
sister, and it contained documents from a caseworker at the
Social Security Administration. The envelope was not
marked as “confidential or legal mail.” Doc.
5 at 1. He contends that the loss of his documents makes
him accessible to identity theft, invasion of privacy, and
fraud, and could “ruin [his] credit report.”
Id. at 2. Adams said he believes Neeld seized the
documents because Adams: (1) is African American and mentally
disabled; and (2) has had some “racial
disputes” at the SCDF. Id. at 1.
claims that the mishandling of his mail violated his
constitutional rights and amounted to
“discrimination” against him based on his race
and disability. Adams sues Neeld in his official and
individual capacity, and seeks compensatory damages and a
declaratory judgment that his rights have been violated.
Doc. 2 at 2, 5-6; Doc. 5 at 2.
Official Capacity Claim
matter of law, Adams's “official capacity”
claim must be construed as a claim against Neeld's
employer, Saline County. See Parrish v. Ball, 594
F.3d 993, 997 (8th Cir. 2010); Jenkins v. County of
Hennepin, Minnesota, 557 F.3d 628, 631-32 (8th Cir.
2009). Saline County cannot be held vicariously liable, in a
§ 1983 action, for the acts of its employees. See
Monell v. Dept. of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691-94
(1978). Instead, it can only be held liable if its policies,
customs, and practices caused Adams's injury. See
Jenkins, 557 F.3d at 632; Grayson v. Ross, 454
F.3d 802, 810-11 (8th Cir. 2006).
Adams does not allege that a Saline County policy, practice,
or custom caused his injury, he has failed to plead a viable
official-capacity claim against Neeld. Accordingly, that
claim should be dismissed.
Individual Capacity Claims
alleges a one-time incident of his incoming mail being
opened, with three documents being either lost or destroyed.
The law is settled that “an isolated incident [of
incoming legal mail being opened], without any evidence of
improper motive or resulting interference with [the
inmate's] right to counsel or to access to the courts,
does not give rise to a constitutional violation.”
Gardner v. Howard,109 F.3d 427, 431 (8th Cir.
1997); see also Holloway v. Pigman,884 F.2d 365,
367 (8th ...