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Samuels v. Rex

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division

September 26, 2019

SHANDON LAMONT SAMUELS PLAINTIFF
v.
DEPUTY REX; and DEPUTY SELF DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Shandon L. Samuels, currently an inmate of the East Arkansas Regional Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction ("ADC"), has filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He 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"). 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. § 1915(e)(2).

         I. BACKGROUND

         According to the allegations of the Amended Complaint (Doc. 6), while Samuels was confined in the Washington County Detention Center in July and August of 2019, the floor in A-block, Q-pod was wet and slippery, causing Samuels to slip on three occasions. On one such occasion, Samuels injured himself, and Deputy Rex, who was present, did not pay attention to "anyone screaming at him to get medical attention" for Samuels. Samuels has sued Deputy Rex in his official capacity only.

         On August 1, 2019, after falling the third time, Samuels alleges he asked Deputy Self and a "black shirt" deputy to take him to "medical." Both refused. Deputy Self advised him to put his request on the kiosk. Samuels has sued Deputy Self in his official capacity only.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under the IFP statute, 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; (2) fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or, (3) seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i-iii).

         A claim 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 Atl. 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)).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Section 1983 requires proof of two elements: (1) the conduct complained of must be committed by a person acting under color of state law, and (2) the conduct must deprive the plaintiff of rights or privileges secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

         A. Eighth Amendment in General

         "[W]hen the State takes a person into its custody and holds him there against his will, the Constitution imposes upon it a corresponding duty to assume some responsibility for his safety and general well-being." Cnty. of Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U.S. 833, 851 (1998) (quotations and citation omitted). The Constitution does not mandate comfortable prisons, but neither does it permit inhumane ones. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). The Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment forbids conditions that involve the "wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain, " or are "grossly disproportionate to the severity of the crime." Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981).[1]

         "A prisoner alleging an Eighth Amendment violation must prove both an objective and subjective element." Revels v. Vincenz,382 F.3d 870, 875 (8th Cir. 2004) (citing Wilson v. Setter,501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991)). "The defendant's conduct must objectively rise to the level of a constitutional violation by depriving the plaintiff of the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities. The defendant's conduct must also reflect a subjective state of mind evincing deliberate indifference to the health or safety of the prisoner." Revels, 382 F.3d at 875 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). The standards against which a court measures ...


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