United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
HOLMES, III CHIEF 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 May 6, 2019. (ECF No. 1). That same
day, the Court entered an Order directing Plaintiff to file a
completed in forma pauperis application and an
Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 3). Plaintiff filed his Amended
Complaint on May 20, 2019, along with a partial IFP
application. (ECF No. 6, 7). Plaintiff filed his certificate
of inmate account on May 22, 2019. (ECF No. 9). Plaintiff was
granted IFP status on May 23, 2019. (ECF No. 10).
alleges he was denied medical care while incarcerated in the
Sebastian County Detention Center. (ECF No. 1 at 3).
Plaintiff alleges he is hypoglycemic and at the beginning of
his incarceration his blood sugar was checked four times a
day and he was given snacks if his blood sugar was low.
(Id.). He alleges that for several weeks,
“everything [was] good.” (Id.). On
approximately April 22, 2019, however, Plaintiff alleges the
snacks were suddenly stopped “for no reason.” As
a result, his blood sugar dropped in to the
“40's” which is dangerously low.
(Id.). Plaintiff wrote a grievance concerning the
matter. He alleges Nurse Cindy blamed Captain Dumas, and
Captain Dumas blamed Nurse Cindy. (Id.). After the
grievance, his blood sugar was no longer tested, and he was
placed in lock down “for no reason” in
retaliation for filing the grievance. (Id. at 3, 6).
Plaintiff later alleges he was told he was placed in
lock-down for medical reasons. (Id. at 6). Plaintiff
further alleges that Defendants violated his rights under the
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(“HIPAA”) because Captain Dumas looked at his
blood sugar charts. (ECF No. 6 at 2). Plaintiff also includes
an unnamed “kitchen lady” in his HIPAA claim.
proceeds against Defendants in both their official and
personal capacity. (ECF No. 1 at 6). He seeks compensatory
and punitive damages. (ECF No. 1 at 5).
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).
HIPAA claim is subject to dismissal. HIPAA did not create a
private right of action, and therefore it cannot be privately
enforced though § 1983. Dodd v. Jones, 623 F.3d
563, 569 (8th Cir. 2010); Dockery v. Correctional Medical
Services, 2007 WL 1560317 (D. Nebraska 2007).
Plaintiff failed to state a plausible official capacity claim
against Defendants. Under Section 1983, a defendant may be
sued in either his individual capacity, or in his official
capacity, or in both. In Gorman v. Bartch, 152 F.3d
907 (8th Cir. 1998), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
discussed the distinction between individual and official
capacity suits. As explained by the Court in Gorman:
“Claims against government actors in their individual
capacities differ from those in their official capacities as
to the type of conduct that is actionable and as to the type
of defense that is available. See Hafer v. Melo, 502
U.S. 21, 112 S.Ct. 358, 116 L.Ed.2d 301 (1991). Claims
against individuals in their official capacities are
equivalent to claims against the entity for which they work;
they require proof that a policy or custom of the entity
violated the plaintiff's rights, and the only type of
immunity available is one belonging to the entity itself.
Id. 502 U.S. at 24-27, 112 S.Ct. at 361-62 (1991).
Personal capacity claims, on the other hand, are those which
allege personal liability for individual actions by ...