United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
OPINION AND ORDER
HOLMES, III, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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).
filed his Complaint on January 24, 2019. (ECF No. 1). He was
granted in forma pauperis (IFP) status on January
31, 2019. (ECF No. 6). Plaintiff alleges his constitutional
rights were violated by the denial of medical care and the
conditions of confinement while incarcerated in the Johnson
County Detention Center (JCDC) starting on September 1, 2017.
(ECF No. 1 at 2, 5). Specifically, he alleges he is 63 years
old and was in “good condition” upon entering
JCDC but suffered from “advancing neuropathy.”
(Id. at 4, 5). He alleges that if his neuropathy had
been treated he could live a normal life. He alleges he was
denied “needed care due to budget constraints”
and is now confined to a wheelchair. (Id.).
Plaintiff alleges it is the policy of the facility to only
provide access to a nurse who is available once a week. He
alleges this nurse “does not have the capacity to
diagnose advanced medical conditions. When he does it is
often akin to medical malpractice which I can prove.”
(Id. at 6). He further alleges he lost several teeth
from scurvy due to the lack of fruits and vegetables at the
facility. (Id. at 4, 7). He alleges he has been
incarcerated for more than 16 months without seeing a
judge and was forced to lay on a mat on a
concrete floor in an unheated cell for 12 hours a day.
(Id. at 4).
proceeds against all Defendants in their official and
personal capacity. (Id. at 5). He seeks compensatory
and punitive damages. He alleges he made an annual income of
$150, 000 per year and estimates he could have worked for
another ten years if he had not been incarcerated. He asks
for $1.5 million dollars. (Id. at 7).
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.
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).
fails to state any plausible claims against any of the named
Defendants. Plaintiff's personal capacity claims against
these Defendants are therefore subject to dismissal.
“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 did, or failed
to do, that allegedly violated the plaintiff's federal
constitutional rights. Martin, 780 F.2d at 1337.
are listed in the caption of the case and in Plaintiff's
claim for denial of medical care. (ECF No. 1 at 2-3, 5). They
are not named for any of his other allegations. Plaintiff
does not provide any specific factual allegations detailing
how they were involved in, or responsible for, any purported
violation of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff therefore
fails to state any cognizable claims against the Defendants.
To the extent Plaintiff named Defendants because they are in
positions of authority in JCDC, he may not bring a claim
solely on the theory of respondeat superior. See
Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 654,
694 (1978) (A claim of deprivation of a constitutional right
cannot be based on a respondeat superior theory of
one were to assume arguendo their involvement in his
denial of medical care claim, Plaintiff fails to state
sufficient facts to support a cognizable denial of medical
care claim. The Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and
unusual punishment prohibits deliberate indifference to
prisoners' serious medical needs. Luckert v. Dodge
County, 684 F.3d 808, 817 (8th Cir. 2012). Thus, to
prevail on his Eighth Amendment claim, Plaintiff must prove
that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 106 (1976).
deliberate indifference standard includes “both an
objective and a subjective component: ‘The [Plaintiff]
must demonstrate (1) that [he] suffered [from] objectively
serious medical needs and (2) that the prison officials
actually knew of but deliberately disregarded those
needs.'” Jolly v. Knudsen, 205 F.3d 1094,
1096 (8th Cir. 2000) (quoting Dulany v. Carnahan,
132 F.3d 1234, 1239 (8th Cir. 1997)).
provides only conclusory statements that he was denied
medical care for his “advancing neuropathy.”
Plaintiff alleges no facts concerning any of the following:
where he received his diagnosis of neuropathy; what symptoms
his neuropathy caused; what medical care or treatment was
needed; whether he placed medical care requests for his
condition using the proper jail procedure, and was denied;
how the denial affected his symptoms; or, whether he suffered
any injuries due to the alleged denial of care. Nor has he
alleged he suffered any detrimental effects to his disease
prognosis due to the alleged denial of medical care (other
than to state he now uses a wheelchair). Finally, Plaintiff
was not in the in the custody of Johnson County from February
2018 through December 2018. As noted above, ...