United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
O. Hickey Chief United States District Judge.
a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff Joseph Zane Allen
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro
se and in forma pauperis. This 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 is
obligated to screen any complaint in which a prisoner seeks
redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee.
Joseph Zane Allen is currently incarcerated in the Union
County Detention Center (“UCDC”) in El Dorado,
Arkansas. Plaintiff filed this civil rights action pro
se on September 11, 2019. (ECF No. 1). In his Complaint,
Plaintiff names Stephen Love-a Sergeant at the UCDC; Kevin
Pendleton-a Lieutenant at the UCDC; and Jeremiah Wells-an
inmate at the UCDC, as Defendants.
alleges he submitted grievances to Defendants Pendleton and
Love asking to be moved away from Defendant Wells because
Defendant Wells threatened him. Three days after Plaintiff
submitted his requests to be moved, Defendant Wells attacked
him. As a result of the attack, Plaintiff suffered a broken
nose and stitches in his left eyebrow. Plaintiff also claims
he was denied adequate medical care and suffered “pain
and suffering and mental anguish.” (ECF No. 1, p. 4).
Plaintiff sues Defendants in their official and individual
capacities. He seeks compensatory damages. Plaintiff also
requests to be released from the UCDC so he “can have
[his] eye checked out by a professional physician[.]”
(Id. at p. 7).
the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen this 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)).
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).
1983 provides a federal cause of action for the deprivation,
under color of law, of a citizen's “rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and
laws” of the United States. Dunham v. Wadley,
195 F.3d 1007, 1009 (8th Cir. 1999). In order to state a
claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege
each defendant acted under color of state law and that he or
she violated a right secured by the constitution.
determine the presence of state action, a court must examine
the record to determine whether “the conduct allegedly
causing the deprivation of a federal right [is] fairly
attributable to the State.” Montano v.
Hedgepeth, 120 F.3d 844, 848 (8th Cir. 1997) (quoting
Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 937
(1982)). There can be no “fair attribution”
unless the alleged constitutional violation was “caused
by the exercise of some right or privilege created by the
State or by a rule of conduct imposed by the State or by a
person for whom the State is responsible.” Id.
Moreover, “the party charged with the deprivation must
be a person who may fairly be said to be a state actor. This
may be because he is a state official, because he has acted
together with or has obtained significant aid from state
officials, or because his conduct is otherwise chargeable to
the State.” Id.; see also Roudybush v.
Zabel, 813 F.2d 173, 176-77 (8th Cir. 1987).
review of Plaintiff's Complaint, Plaintiff has not
alleged any facts showing Defendant Wells was a state actor
or acting under color of state law when he attacked Plaintiff
at the UCDC. Rather, Plaintiff alleges Defendant Wells was a
fellow inmate. Thus, Defendant Wells is not subject to
liability under Section 1983 and Plaintiff's claims
against him should be dismissed.
above reasons, Plaintiff's claims against Defendant
Jeremiah Wells are hereby DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE. The Clerk is DIRECTED to
terminate Jeremiah Wells as a defendant in this lawsuit. The
matter of service on Defendants Love and Pendleton will be
addressed by separate order.