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Mills v. Smith

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division

April 1, 2019

KENDALL RAY MILLS PLAINTIFF
v.
ADMINISTRATOR EDDIE SMITH, ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR ASHLEY GRAY SMITH, SHERIFF HOLLENBECK and DOE JAILER DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          P. K. HOLMES, III, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on November 28, 2018. (ECF No. 1). That same day the Court entered an Order granting Plaintiff IFP status and directing him to file an Amended Complaint by December 17, 2018. (ECF No. 3). In the Order, Plaintiff was advised that failure to comply with this Order would result in the dismissal of his case. Plaintiff filed a Notice of Address Change on December 19, 2018 (ECF No. 8), but he did not file his Amended Complaint and did not otherwise communicate with the Court. On January 9, 2019, the Court entered a second Order directing Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint. Plaintiff did so on January 24, 2019. (ECF No. 10).

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”), Grimes Unit. His Amended Complaint addresses alleged violations of his constitutional rights which occurred during his incarceration in the Sebastian County Detention Center (SCDC). (ECF No. 10). Plaintiff alleges he was “jumped” by two inmates in pod GG of SCDC. He alleges the incident and treatment occurred on May 10, 2018 through the second week of May. He suffered a broken eye socket, broken ribs, and a mild concussion from the attack. (Id. at 4). He was taken to the hospital emergency room and received treatment for these conditions. He alleges, however, that Defendants Hollenbeck, Eddie Smith, and Ashley Smith refused to pay for his medical bills, telling him they were his responsibility. Plaintiff argues SCDC should pay for the medical bills because he was in the care and custody of the facility when he was attacked. (Id. at 5-6).

         Plaintiff further alleges he was placed in a cell in the medical section of SCDC and given 800 milligrams of ibuprofen twice daily from May 10, 2018 through the second week of May. (Id. at 6). He alleges this did not stop his pain, and when he asked form something stronger, he was denied. He names Defendants Hollenbeck, Eddie Smith, and Ashley Smith for this claim. (Id.). As a result, Plaintiff alleges he was in pain, had difficulty breathing, and kept getting headaches. (Id. at 8). He alleges Defendants would not take him back to the hospital to see a doctor. (Id. at 7).

         Finally, Plaintiff alleges SCDC has “improper grievance procedures and protocol.” (Id. at 8). He alleges it is not operated according to state grievance procedure, and most grievances do not receive a response because “there's really no problem solvers.”[1] (Id.). Plaintiff proceeds against all Defendant in both their official and personal capacity. (Id. at 4, 6, 8). He seeks compensatory and punitive damages. He also wants the sheriff to provide him with a copy of one of his grievances, his medical records from the hospital, and the names of the officers who worked the shift during which the inmate assault occurred.

         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 Atlantic 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. ANALYSIS

         A. Doe Jailer

         Plaintiff fails to allege a cognizable claim against Doe Jailer. “Liability under Section 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) (citing Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 370 (1976)). Thus, to state a cognizable Section 1983 claim, a complaint must set forth specific factual allegations showing what each named defendant allegedly did, or failed to do, that allegedly violated the plaintiff's federal constitutional rights. Plaintiff has not alleged a causal link between Doe Jailer and his claims. Instead, he merely lists this jailer in the caption of the case. Merely listing a defendant in a case caption is insufficient to support a claim against the defendant. Krych v. Hass, 83 Fed.Appx. 854, 855 (8th Cir. 2003) (citing Potter v. Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir. 1974) (per curiam) (noting that court properly dismissed pro se complaint that was silent as to defendant except for his name appearing in caption)).

         B. Official ...


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