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Trogstad v. Walker

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

October 8, 2019

JEDEDIAH TROGSTAD PLAINTIFF
v.
WARDEN WALKER, Miller County Detention Center; SHERIFF RUNYON, Miller County, Arkansas; SERGEANT GRIFFIE; SERGEANT GUTHRIE; CORPORAL T. WEBB; CORPORAL SMITH; CORPORAL HENDERSON; and JASON MITCHELL, Miller County Public Defenders Office DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          SUSAN O. HICKEY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff Jedediah Trogstad pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds in this matter pro se and in forma pauperis. The case is currently before the Court for preservice screening under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), under which 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.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on August 21, 2019. (ECF No. 1). On September 9, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 7). That same day, the Court directed Plaintiff to file an amended complaint by September 30, 2019. (ECF No. 9). The Court's order stated that Plaintiff's amended complaint should include:

[S]hort, plain statements telling the Court: (1) the constitutional right Plaintiff believes was violated; (2) the name of the Defendant who violated the right; (3) exactly what the Defendant did or failed to do; (4) how the action or inaction of that Defendant is connected to the violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights; and (5) what specific injury Plaintiff suffered because of that Defendant's conduct. Plaintiff must repeat this process for each person he has named as a Defendant.

Id. (internal citation omitted).

         Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint on September 25, 2019. (ECF No. 10). According to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, he is currently incarcerated in the Miller County Detention Center (“MCDC”), serving a sentence as a result of a judgment of conviction. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint alleges that the following Defendants violated his constitutional rights while he was incarcerated in the MCDC: Warden Walker, Miller County Sheriff Runyon, Sergeant Griffie, Sergeant Guthrie, Corporal T. Webb, Corporal Smith, Corporal Henderson, and Jason Mitchell, Public Defender. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

         Plaintiff asserts three claims. Plaintiff's first claim is for “cruel and unusual punishment” alleged to have occurred from June 8, 2019 to July 3, 2019. Plaintiff alleges that he was “housed” on a concrete floor for four weeks, which caused injuries to his hip and shoulder. Plaintiff further states that “when [he] addressed this issue, [he] received no reply.” Plaintiff names Warden Walker, Sheriff Runyon, Sergeant Griffie, Sergeant Guthrie, Corporal T. Webb, Corporal Henderson, Corporal Smith, and MCDC Staff as the Defendants involved. Plaintiff asserts this claim against those Defendants in both their official and individual capacities and states “U.S. Constitutional Amendment 8 Cruel and Unusual Punishment inflicted” when asked to describe the custom or policy that caused the violation of his constitutional rights. Id.

         Plaintiff's second claim is for “theft of funds, ” which Plaintiff alleges occurred between June 25, 2019 and July 9, 2019. Plaintiff names Warden Walker, Sergeant Guthrie, and Sergeant Griffie, in both their official and individual capacities, as those involved. When asked to describe the acts or omissions that form the basis for this claim, Plaintiff states “I was told this issue would be remedied. It never occurred. Warden Walker was address [sic], never replied. Sgt. Griffie never returned my funds. I was not afforded simple comforts.” With respect to the custom or policy that caused the alleged violation of his constitutional rights, Plaintiff states “[m]y funds were taken (Amend #4) and not returned. U.S. Constitutional Rights 4-8.” Id.

         Plaintiff's third claim is for “ineffective assistance of counsel, ” with the stated dates as “June 7, 2019 - still unresolved.” Plaintiff names Jason Mitchell of the Miller County Public Defender's Office and “MCDC (Sheriff Runyon and staff)” as Defendants, naming them in both official and individual capacities. Plaintiff states “MCDC (staff) made every attempt to not help me with my issue. Jason Mitchell took 45 days to contact me even after several letter [sic], phone calls from me and wife. Harmed my job, family freedom.” With respect to the custom or policy Plaintiff asserts caused the alleged violation of his constitutional right, Plaintiff states “U.S. Constitutional Amendment #6, lack of Due Diligence, Due Process, Bonding Codes, Executive output.”

         II. STANDARD

         Under 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. § 1915A(b).

         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)). However, 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).

         III. ...


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