United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
O. Hickey Chief United States District Judge.
a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff, Michael Eugene
Markcum, 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 the
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 30, 2019. (ECF No. 1). His
application to proceed in forma pauperis was granted
that same day. (ECF No. 3). Plaintiff has named Jana Tallant-
the Jail Administrator at the Howard County Jail
(“HCJ”); Lacey Grace-a jailer at the HCJ; Brian
McJunkins-the Sheriff of Howard County; and Amy Marion-the
Chief of Police, as Defendants in this action.
describes his claim as “leaving us in a cell while
there was 6ft of water around the coming under the doors
exposing us to sewer water[.]” (ECF No. 1, p. 4). He
goes on to state that on July 16, 2019:
[Jana Tallant] give Lacey Grace order to move us in a cell
that only holds 10 men all together it was 22 of us. Left us
there while the hole jail flooded. Its here job to have a
evacuaction plan she did'nt have one…we walked in
ankle deep sewer water, while cars and trucks were floating
in front of the jail. We were held in the cell from 7:00A.M.
to 3:30p.m…[Lacey Grace] would not help us to get dry
clothes or move us to another cell or provide clean up
chemicals or mop. Just laughed and went back up
front…[Brian McJunkins] He prison us in A10 man cell
with 20 men in it while standing in ankle deep sewer water
for hours. And then give his jailer orders to feed us
standing in sewer water with no gloves or hairnet…[Amy
Marion] is chief of police here, It's her job to help
provide a sufficient jail. As far as evacuaucation plan for
floods emergencyies she did'nt do her job[.]”
(Id. at pp. 4-7).
official capacity claim Plaintiff alleges, “no
emergency plan to help move us standing in sewer water. No.
clean clothes . . . feed us sandwiches standing in sewer
water . . . no hairnets or gloves. Had to wear our nasty
clothes for 4 day straight[.]” (Id. at pp.
5-6). Plaintiff also alleges “after they moved us to
another jail 9 days later they brought us back to the same
cell didn't paint the walls or redo the floors or even
bleach anything[.]” (Id. at p. 6). As a
result, Plaintiff states, he suffered “scariest
feelings in the world to know that I was going to die from
drowning . . . [Defendants] put inmates at or a risk of
catching any kind of diseases[.]” (Id. at pp.
September 3, 2019, Plaintiff filed a document which was
entered by the Clerk of Court as a Supplement to his
Complaint. (ECF No. 6). In this Supplement, Plaintiff alleges
he was denied medical care on June 20, 2019, by Guard Turner
Reed, Jailer Ethan Nowlen, Jailer Dalton Potter and Defendant
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 that Defendants were not responsible
for such flooding
the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen cases 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).
conclusory allegations with no supporting factual averments
are insufficient to state a claim upon which relief can be
based. Allen v. Purkett, 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 ...