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
in this matter pro se and in forma
pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1, 2, 3). 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 must screen any
complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity, officer, or employee.
filed his Complaint on September 17, 2019. (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff alleges that the following Defendants violated his
constitutional rights while he was incarcerated in the Howard
County Jail: Jana Tallent, Jail Administrator, Howard County
Jail; Deputy John Eric; and Sheriff Brian McJunkins. (ECF No.
Complaint asserts one claim against Defendants, in both their
individual and official capacities. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff
states that they denied him the ability “to eat hot
food and healthy food, no gloves or hair net.”
Id. Plaintiff alleges that the deprivations have
been ongoing since January 3, 2019. Id.
alleges that Defendant Tallent allows staff “to handle
o[ur] food with no gloves or hairnet, our food is exposed in
a rack in the hallway uncovered. When I worked outside they
would put [the food] outside uncovered with bugs o[n] it. . .
. It happens every day.” When Plaintiff was asked to
describe the custom or policy that he believes caused the
constitutional violation, Plaintiff states, “[b]ecause
the sheriff knows what's going o[n] and never answers
request or a grievance. Jana Tallent answers for her -
letting them feed us cold food exposed food to bacteria. And
to disease by not wearing gloves or hairnet.”
alleges that Defendant Eric “will not answer request
about our food and the way it has been handle. He also allows
this to go on.” When asked to describe the custom or
policy that he believes caused the constitutional violation,
Plaintiff states, “[Defendant Eric] denies us our right
to be served healthy food. By not keeping the healthy code.
By leaving our food on a rack exposed, no one wears gloves or
hairnets serving or preparing or food. Plus, he has seen our
food setting outside and said nothing.” Id.
alleges Defendant McJunkins “is the sheriff it's
also his job to maintain a healthy environment for us when it
come to our food. I have been here awhile it has taking me
long time to get paperwork from them to file this. He knows
the health code but he doesn't up hold it here as far as
our food.” When asked to describe the custom or policy
that he believes caused the constitutional violation,
Plaintiff states, “I believe because he is Sheriff he
should lead by example. He allows his guards jail
administrator and Deputy Sheriff to let people handle our
food wrongfully and expose us to bacteria and
seeks compensatory and punitive damages. He states: “I
would like to have 100, 000 from each one of the Defendants.
All three of them to resign and to buy a heater box for the
food make them uphold the health code and wear gloves.”
the PLRA, the Court must screen the case prior to service of
process. 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).
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 to support a claim. Martin v.
Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985).
forth above, Plaintiff asserts individual and official
capacity claims against all three Defendants with respect to
his allegations that they denied him the ability “to
eat hot food and healthy food.” Plaintiff states that
the food was left exposed on a rack in the hallway or
outside, allowing bugs to access the food and contaminating
it with disease and bacteria. Finally, Plaintiff states ...