United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
following Recommended Disposition has been sent to United
States Chief District Judge D.P. Marshall Jr. You may file
written objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If
you do so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain
the factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days
of the date of this Recommendation. If you do not file
objections, Judge Marshall can adopt this Recommendation
without independently reviewing all of the evidence in the
record. By not objecting, you may waive the right to appeal
questions of fact.
Cortez Reed (“Reed”) filed this pro se
§ 1983 Complaint and Amended Complaint alleging that
Defendants violated his constitutional rights while he was a
pretrial detainee in the Drew County Jail
(“DCJ”). Docs. 2 & 6. Before Reed may
proceed with this case, the Court must screen his
alleges that, for four weeks, he requested DCJ employees to
repair a light in his cell. Eventually, “they”
came in and put tape around the exposed wires, presumably in
an effort to fix the problem with the light.
March 14, 2019, two other inmates allegedly broke a water
sprinkler and flooded Reed's cell. Reed said he
“felt a slight shock” when the water hit his feet
and, ten minutes later, he and his cellmate were moved to
another cell. Doc. 2 at 4 & 6; Doc. 6 at 4.
also alleges that, on March 2 and 14, 2019, he asked a John
Doe Defendant, who worked as a “transporter and
maintenance” officer at the DCJ, to take him to the
doctor because he had “heart problems” and had
gotten “sick” from mold in the shower. This John
Doe Defendant “took his time” and failed to take
Reed to the doctor. Reed states that, on March 15, 2019, he
was transferred to the Ashley County Detention Center
(“ACDC”), where he received medical attention for
chest pains and high blood pressure. Doc. 2 at 2, 4 &
6; Doc. 6 at 2, 4 & 6.
seeks compensatory damages for his “pain and
suffering” resulting from Defendants' “not
doing their job [to] fix things [and] take [him] to a
doctor.” Although Reed has only named Defendants in
their official capacity, the Court has liberally
construed his claims as also seeking damages from Defendants,
in their individual capacity. See Doc. 2 at 2, 4-6; Doc.
6 at 2, 4-6.
Reed's Official-Capacity Claims
matter of law, Reed's “official capacity”
claims against Defendants must be construed as claims against
Drew County. Brewington v. Keener, 902 F.3d 796, 800
(8th Cir. 2018). Drew County cannot be held vicariously
liable, in a § 1983 action, for the acts of its
employees. Id. at 800-01 (citing Monell v. New
York City Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658
(1978)). Instead, it can only be held liable if its policies,
customs, and practices caused Reed's injury.
Brewington, 902 F.3d at 801-02; Corwin v. City
of Independence, Missouri, 829 F.3d 695, 699-700 (8th
Reed does not allege that a Drew County policy, custom or
practice caused his injury, he has failed to plead viable
official-capacity claims against Defendants. Accordingly,
those claims should be dismissed.
Reed's Conditions of Confinement Claims Against
Defendants, in Their Individual Capacity
construed, Reed alleges only that “someone”
inadequately repaired the light fixture in his cell, and it
caused him to experience a brief “shock” when his
cell was later flooded by other prisoners. It appears Reed
believes these facts are sufficient to support an
unconstitutional conditions of confinement claim.
plead a viable § 1983 claim, based on allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement, Reed must allege
facts demonstrating that: (1) objectively, there was a
“substantial risk of serious harm” to his health
or safety; and (2) subjectively, Defendants were
“deliberately indifferent” to that
risk.Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
834 (1994). An official is “deliberately
indifferent” only when he or she “knows of and
disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the
official must both be aware of ...