United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
MARK E. FORD, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a civil rights action provisionally filed pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1) and (3) (2011), the Honorable Susan O.
Hickey, Chief United States District Judge, referred this
case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a Report
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 in the Eastern District of Arkansas on
March 22, 2019. (ECF No. 2). It was transferred to this
District on March 27, 2019. (ECF No. 3). On March 28, 2019,
the Court entered an Order directing Plaintiff to file an
Amended Complaint, which he did on April 10, 2019. (ECF No.
alleges Defendants failed to protect him while he was
incarcerated in the Clark County Jail on November 16, 2018
“and previous.” (Id. at 4). He alleges
the heating system in the jail was not maintained, the
ventilation was inadequate, and there were no carbon monoxide
detectors. (Id. at 8). As a result, Plaintiff was
exposed to the “noxious fumes” of carbon monoxide
which posed an “unreasonable risk of serious harm to
Plaintiff's present or future health.”
(Id. at 4). He further alleges the fumes
“affect[ed] his physical health and mental
health.” (Id. at 5-8). Plaintiff does not
describe how his health was affected.
proceeds against all Defendants in their official and
personal capacity. (Id. at 4). He seeks compensatory
and punitive damages. (Id. at 10).
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 a plausible conditions of confinement claim.
“[W]hen the State takes a person into its custody and
holds him there against his will, the Constitution imposes
upon it a corresponding duty to assume some responsibility
for his safety and general well-being.” Cty.
of Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833 (1998)
(citation omitted). The Eighth Amendment to the United States
Constitution prohibits the imposition of cruel and unusual
punishment. U.S. Const. amend. VIII. Detention centers must
provide pretrial detainees with “reasonably adequate
sanitation, personal hygiene, and laundry privileges . .
.” Beaulieu v. Ludeman, 690 F.3d 1017, 1045
(8th Cir. 2012) (quoting Howard v. Adkison, 887 F.2d
134, 137 (8th Cir. 1989)). The Eighth Amendment also
prohibits punishments that deprive inmates of the minimal
civilized measure of life's necessities. Smith v.
Copeland, 87 F.3d 265, 268 (8th Cir. 1996); see also
Hall v. Dalton, 34 F.3d 648, 650 (8th Cir. 1994)
(“[I]n this circuit, the standards applied to Eighth
Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment claims have been the
prisoner alleging an Eighth Amendment violation must prove
both an objective and subjective element. Revels v.
Vincenz, 382 F.3d 870, 875 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing
Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991)).
“The defendant's conduct must objectively rise to
the level of a constitutional violation by depriving the
plaintiff of the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities. The defendant's conduct must also reflect a
subjective state of mind evincing deliberate indifference to
the health or safety of the prisoner.” Revels,
382 F.3d at 875 (citations and internal quotation marks
omitted). Deliberate indifference is established when the
Plaintiff shows “the defendant was substantially aware
of but disregarded an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety.” Id. The standards against which a
court measures prison conditions are “the evolving
standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing
society.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102
(1976). The Constitution does not mandate comfortable
prisons, but neither does it permit inhumane ones. Farmer
v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). As is the case
with all Eighth Amendment claims, a prisoner must suffer some
actual injury in order to receive compensation. This injury
must be greater than de minimis. Irving v.
Dormire, 519 F.3d 441, 448 (8th Cir. 2008).
Plaintiff fails to state a plausible conditions of
confinement claim for two reasons. First, his vague
allegations are insufficient to meet the objective prong of
the test. He alleges only that the heating system was not
maintained, the ventilation was inadequate, and there were no
carbon monoxide sensors. Plaintiff does not identify what
type of system was used for heat, what maintenance was
lacking on the system, or how any alleged lack of maintenance
was related to carbon monoxide emissions. Nor does he
identify what was problematic about the ventilation, or how
he knew there were no carbon monoxide sensors. Plaintiff also
fails to describe any symptoms from his alleged exposure or