United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
O. Hickey Chief United States District Judge.
a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff, Chris Lee Huffman,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro
se and in forma pauperis. The case is before
the Court for preservice screening under provisions of the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. Pursuant to the PLRA, the Court has the
obligation to screen any complaint in which a prisoner seeks
redress from a governmental entity, officer or employee.
filed his Complaint on August 5, 2019. (ECF No. 1). His
application to proceed in forma pauperis was granted
that same day. (ECF No. 3). Plaintiff has named Ms. Lacey-a
Jailer at the Howard County Jail (“HCJ”), Jana
Tallant-the Administrator of the HCJ, and Brian McJunkins-the
Sheriff of Howard County, as Defendants in this action.
describes his claim as “unsafe and unclean
en[vironment], No. Evac plan. No medical.” (ECF No. 1,
p. 4). Specifically, he states:
On 7-15-19 Howard County Jail [flooded] dude to creek next to
it all inmates bang on door to get offices to come to back we
seen cars and floating by the inmates stood in water for 6
hours then serve food to us with no gloves Water was coming
out of drains and stink. But they did not have no plan to get
us out we beat on windows we saw boats [rescuing] people but
would not help us we had to ware same cloths we wade in water
for 4 days.
(Id. at pp. 4-5).
also alleges, “They did not have no emergency
evacuation plan and no medical staff at no time here.”
(Id. at p. 5). As a result, Plaintiff states,
“I have bad dreams I am drowning cant sleep need to see
[mental] health been feeling sick.” (Id. at p.
8). Plaintiff proceeds against all Defendants in their
official and personal capacities. (Id. at 4). He
seeks compensatory damages. (Id. at 10).
Court takes judicial notice of a news report documenting that
on July 15, 2019, the remnant of Tropical Storm Barry made
its way through Arkansas. The storm dropped 8.47 inches of
rainfall on Nashville, Arkansas-where the HCJ is located. The
report states, “Inmates from the Howard County jail
were evacuated Tuesday afternoon. Seven inmates were moved to
Department of Correction sites while the rest were bused to
the Sevier County jail in De Queen.” While this report
differs from Plaintiff's account of the flood and the
alleged lack of evacuations, there is no question the
flooding occurred, and the Defendants were not responsible
for such flooding.
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).
mere conclusory allegations with no supporting factual
averments are insufficient to state a claim upon which relief
can be based. Allen v. Purkett, 5 F.3d 1151, 1153
(8th Cir. 1993); see also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d
912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004). “[A] pro se plaintiff
requires no special legal training to recount the facts
surrounding his alleged injury, and he must provide such
facts if the court is to determine whether he makes out a
claim on which relief can be granted.” Hall v.
Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991) (citation