United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
KRISTINE G. BAKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court has reviewed the Recommended Disposition submitted by
United States Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray (Dkt. No. 8).
Plaintiff Bobby Lee Robertson filed an untimely objection to
the Recommended Disposition (Dkt. No. 9). While the objection
is untimely, the Court has considered it. After careful
review of the Recommended Disposition, a de novo
review of the record, and a review of Mr. Robertson's
objection, the Court adopts the Recommended Disposition as
its findings in all respects (Dkt. No. 8). The Court denies
Mr. Robertson's motion to request that jurisdiction be
reinvested (Dkt. No. 7). The Court dismisses without
prejudice Mr. Robertson's claims against defendants and
dismisses without prejudice the complaint and amended
complaints (Dkt. Nos. 2, 5, 6).
Robertson, a prisoner in the Varner Supermax Unit of the
Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”), filed
his original complaint pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, and two amended complaints, alleging that
defendants in their official and personal capacities violated
his constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment and the
Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (Dkt.
Nos. 2, 5, 6).
Robertson alleges that on June 14, 2017, separate defendants
Lieutenant Esaw and Sergeant Dennis placed him in the
“Isolation One” shower after he threatened to
kill himself (Dkt. No. 2, at 4). He also alleges that he
stayed in the shower until the next evening, June 15, 2017
(Id., at 4). While in the shower, he alleges that he
was deprived of all clothing except for a paper gown, he had
no toilet or bathroom breaks, he was forced to relieve
himself in the shower drain, he was not given any water to
drink, he had no bed and was forced to place his mattress on
top of the floor drain where he had relieved himself, he had
to sleep and eat in the shower, and he was forced to endure
bugs crawling on him (Dkt. Nos. 2, at 4; 5, at 2; 6, at 1).
Mr. Robertson alleges that, the evening of June 15, 2017, he
was taken to the Isolation Four dayroom, where he had to
sleep on the floor until the next day, at which time he was
placed in a cell (Dkt. No. 2, at 4).
Robertson alleges that, as a result of the conditions of his
confinement between June 14, and June 16, 2017, he suffered:
(1) “mental and emotional stress”; (2) sleep
deprivation due to thoughts of “spiders and waterbugs
crawling” over him; (3) “back pain and sever
soreness, ” numbness in his extremities, and tension in
his neck and back; (4) pain from having to “hold his
bladder”; and (5) exposure to noxious odors from human
waste when he was forced to lay his mattress on top of his
bodily fluids and waste (Dkt. No. 6, at 1). For relief, Mr.
Robertson seeks compensatory and punitive damages (Dkt. Nos.
2, at 5; 6, at 1).
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) requires
federal courts to screen prisoner complaints seeking relief
against a governmental entity, officer, or employee. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or
portion thereof if the prisoner has raised claims that: (a)
are legally frivolous or malicious; (b) fail to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted; or (c) seek monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b). The in forma pauperis statute also
imposes these standards for dismissal. 28 U.S.C. §
action is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In reviewing the
sufficiency of a pro se complaint under the
Court's screening function, the Court must give the
complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). The Court also must
weigh all factual allegations in favor of the plaintiff,
unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992). Although pro
se complaints are to be liberally construed, the
complaint must allege specific facts sufficient to state a
claim. See Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337
(8th Cir. 1985).
Recommended Disposition recommends dismissal without
prejudice of Mr. Robertson's official capacity claims
because they are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See
Murphy v. Arkansas, 127 F.3d 750, 754 (8th Cir. 1997)
(holding that damages against state officials acting in their
official capacities are barred “either by the Eleventh
Amendment or because in these capacities they are not
‘persons' for § 1983 purposes”). The
Court agrees that Mr. Robertson's claims for monetary
relief against defendants in their official capacities are
barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Further, in his objection,
Mr. Robertson states that he “will dismiss the official
capacity claims against said defendants.” (Dkt. No. 9,
at 7). For all these reasons, the Court dismisses without
prejudice Mr. Robertson's claims against defendants in
their official capacities.
Capacity Claims-The Eighth Amendment
Recommended Disposition recommends dismissal without
prejudice of Mr. Robertson's Eighth Amendment inhumane
conditions of confinement claim asserting Mr. Robertson has
failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
(Dkt. No. 8, at 4-6). The Court agrees. To allege a viable
Eighth Amendment claim for inhumane conditions of
confinement, a prisoner must allege that: (1) objectively, he
suffered a “sufficiently serious” deprivation
that denied him “the minimal civilized measure of
life's necessities” or posed “a substantial
risk of serious harm” to his health or safety; and (2)
subjectively, the defendants were “deliberately
indifferent” to the risk of harm caused by the
deprivation. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834
(1994). Mr. Robertson's alleged one-day exposure to
unsanitary and uncomfortable conditions does not satisfy the
objective prong for an inhumane conditions of confinement
claim. See Smith v. Copeland, 87 F.3d 265, 269 (8th
Cir. 1996) (holding that no constitutional violation occurred
where prisoner slept in a cell that was flooded with raw
sewage for multiple days). Furthermore, Mr. Robertson has not
alleged facts sufficient to satisfy the second, subjective,
prong of an inhumane conditions of confinement claim because
Mr. Robertson alleges that his confinement in the shower was
the result of his threat to commit suicide. Accordingly, the
Court finds that Mr. Robertson has failed to allege that
defendants were “deliberately indifferent” to a
substantial risk of harm to his health or safety.
Mr. Robertson has failed to plead viable Eighth Amendment
claims for inhumane conditions of confinement, the Court
dismisses without prejudice Mr. Robertson's Eighth
Amendment claims against ...