United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following Recommendation has been sent to Chief United States
District Judge Brian S. Miller. 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 this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the
right to appeal questions of fact.
Marcus Lockhart filed this pro se civil rights
complaint against Jail Administrator K. Bowers in his
official capacity while incarcerated at the Craighead County
Detention Center (“CCDC”). Doc. No. 1. Lockhart
alleges that he suffered injuries resulting from unsanitary
conditions in the CCDC. Id. He seeks
injunctive and monetary relief. Id. Because
Lockhart is a “three-striker” under the
three-strikes provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”),  Lockhart was ordered to amend his
complaint to describe why he believed he was currently in
danger of imminent serious physical injury at the time he
filed the lawsuit. See Doc. No. 2. Lockhart
subsequently filed an addendum to his complaint in which he
alleged that he had preexisting lung damage and that the
conditions in the CCDC caused him to have trouble breathing
and other medical issues.See Doc. No. 4. The Court found
that Lockhart's allegations satisfied the imminent danger
exception to the three-strikes provision, and caused his
complaint to be served on Bowers. See Doc. No. 5 at
filed a motion for summary judgment, supporting brief, and
statement of undisputed facts (Doc. Nos. 13-15), and Lockhart
filed a response (Doc. No. 17). Bowers filed a reply (Doc.
No. 19). The Court concludes that Bowers is entitled to
summary judgment for the reasons described below.
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is proper if “the movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 321 (1986). When ruling on a motion for summary
judgment, the court must view the evidence in a light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Naucke v. City of Park
Hills, 284 F.3d 923, 927 (8th Cir. 2002). The nonmoving
party may not rely on allegations or denials, but must
demonstrate the existence of specific facts that create a
genuine issue for trial. Mann v. Yarnell, 497 F.3d
822, 825 (8th Cir. 2007). The nonmoving party's
allegations must be supported by sufficient probative
evidence that would permit a finding in his favor on more
than mere speculation, conjecture, or fantasy. Id.
(citations omitted). An assertion that a fact cannot be
disputed or is genuinely disputed must be supported by
materials in the record such as “depositions,
documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes
of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or
other materials . . .”. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A
party may also show that a fact is disputed or undisputed by
“showing that the materials cited do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse
party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). A dispute is genuine
if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury
to return a verdict for either party; a fact is material if
its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Othman v.
City of Country Club Hills, 671 F.3d 672, 675 (8th Cir.
2012). Disputes that are not genuine or that are about facts
that are not material will not preclude summary judgment.
Sitzes v. City of West Memphis, Ark., 606 F.3d 461,
465 (8th Cir. 2010).
moves for summary judgment on a number of grounds; however,
the Court does not reach all of Bowers' arguments because
Bowers is correct that some of Lockhart's claims do not
describe constitutional violations and Lockhart did not
timely exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to
his claim that the unclean and moldy conditions at the CCDC
caused him significant breathing issues.
Claims That Do Not Describe Constitutional
argues that Lockhart does not describe any constitutional
violation. The Court disagrees with respect to Lockhart's
allegation that the unclean and moldy conditions at the CCDC
caused him significant breathing issues. The Court allowed
Lockhart's complaint to proceed based solely on that
allegation because it is the allegation that met the imminent
danger exception to the three-strikes rule (Lockhart alleged
no serious physical injury relating to his food service,
lice, or cups).
Bowers is correct that Lockhart fails to state sufficient
facts to support his other claims. Specifically,
Lockhart's claims regarding how food is served fails to
state a constitutional claim; he does not describe how the
food servers' failure to wear gloves and hair or facial
nets put him at substantial risk of harm or that it has
actually harmed him. See e.g., Bradley v. Aviands Food
Servs., No. 4:15-CV-264-JCH, 2015 WL 851367, at *3 (E.D.
Mo. Feb. 26, 2015) (complaint alleging food service workers
did not wear hair nets dismissed as legally frivolous).
Likewise, his complaint that he was offered only one cup does
not state a constitutional claim. Additionally,
Lockhart's allegation that inmates are not appropriately
treated for lice at intake fails to state a constitutional
claim. He has not alleged he was infected with lice at the
jail. Accordingly, those claims should be dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
Exhaustion of ...