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Allen v. Holladay

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

June 13, 2019

DOC HOLLADAY, Sheriff, Pulaski County Jail, et al. DEFENDANTS


         The 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 fact.

         I. Introduction

         On August 20, 2018, Plaintiff Derrick Allen (“Allen”) initiated this pro se § 1983 action while he was a pretrial detainee in the Pulaski County Detention Facility (“PCDF”).[1] Doc. 2. He was then released from incarceration. Doc. 16. On November 1, 2018, his case was dismissed, without prejudice, for lack of prosecution. Docs. 11 & 12.

         On December 3, 2018, Allen filed a Motion to Reopen, stating that he wished to pursue his case even though he was no longer incarcerated. Doc. 18. The Court granted that Motion and ordered him to file an Amended Complaint. Doc. 20. On March 7, 2019, he filed his Amended Complaint. Doc. 22. Before Allen may proceed with this case, the Court must screen his allegations.[2]

         II. Discussion

         In his Complaint and Amended Complaint, [3] Allen alleges that, while he was housed in the PCDF's R Unit for an unspecified period of time, his security was at risk because the “link door” separating the R and S Units was open “for hours at a time.” According to Allen, when the link door was open, one deputy watched both units, which together housed more than 150 inmates. Allen alleges that PCDF policy and “federal law” mandate no more than 80 inmates per officer. He alleges that his security was further at risk because R unit had only one security camera (which left multiple “blind spots”) and the speakers in the cells did not work. Doc. 2 at 5-6.

         As a result of what Allen claims was a “shortage of staff, ” the inmates in R Unit were placed on lockdown. This meant inmates in R Unit were only allowed to come out of their cells one hour per day, which: limited their access to the phone; forced them “to give up cell clean-up”; unfairly treated general population inmates as if they were “Ad Seg.”; prevented them on some occasions from showering or “get[ting] [their] full portion of food”; and forced them to plead guilty to their criminal charges in order to get out of the PCDF. Id.; Doc. 22 at 4. Allen alleges that, if inmates sought help about these matters, they were “threatened, maced and placed in the hole.” Doc. 2 at 5-6.

         Allen alleges that the above-described conditions in R Unit violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. He seeks $1.5 million in damages. Id. at 5 & 7.

         For the following reasons, the Court concludes that Allen has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         A. No. Personal Involvement

         Allen's initial Complaint contained no factual or legal allegations against any of the named Defendants (Sheriff Doc Holladay, Grievance Officer Sgt. Brawley, Major Briggs, Sgt. Musaddiq, Lt. Bang and Lt. Routh). Doc. 2 at 1-2. In ordering Allen to file an Amended Complaint, the Court pointed out this deficiency and expressly ordered him to file an Amended Complaint “explaining how each Defendant was personally involved in violating his constitutional rights.” Doc. 20 at 3-4. Despite this clear instruction, his Amended Complaint adds a Defendant (Deputy Ryan Crancer) but still contains only conclusory allegations that fail to identify any specific individuals, explain how each of them were personally involved in the alleged constitutional violations, or provide any specific facts demonstrating how these alleged constitutional violations resulted in him sustaining any physical injuries. Doc. 22 at 1-2 & 4.

         Merely naming an individual or entity as a Defendant is insufficient to state a claim against that individual or entity. See Krych v. Hvass, 83 Fed.Appx. 854, 855 (8th Cir. 2003) (holding that pro se plaintiff failed to state a claim against individuals that he “merely listed” in the complaint as defendants). Instead, to state a viable § 1983 claim, a prisoner “must plead that each Government-official defendant, through the official's own individual actions, has violated the Constitution, ” and the complaint must contain sufficient “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676 & 678; see Keeper v. King., 130 F.3d 1309, 1314 (8th Cir. 1997) (holding that the “general responsibility for supervising the operations of a prison in insufficient to establish the personal involvement required to support [§ 1983] liability”). Liability under § 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). Allen has not alleged sufficient personal involvement on the part of any of the named Defendants.

         B. No. Personal Harm

         In his Complaint, Allen vaguely alleged that “security is at risk” and that the activities and privileges of PCDC inmates, in general, were limited by the staff shortage and lockdown. In ordering Allen to file an Amended Complaint, the Court expressly advised him that he: (1) could not proceed on behalf of other inmates; (2) could “proceed only on the alleged constitutional violations he personally experienced”; and (3) was required to ...

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