United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following Recommendation has been sent to United States
District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. 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 this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the
right to appeal questions of fact.
Vicente Ramon Cantu filed a pro se complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 while incarcerated at the
Saline County Detention Center (Doc. No. 2). Cantu was
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and
ordered to file an amended complaint containing a short
statement of the specific role each defendant had in the
alleged constitutional violations and describing how he was
injured (Doc. No. 3). Cantu filed an amended complaint on
October 23, 2019 (Doc. No. 4). For the reasons stated herein,
Cantu's claims should be dismissed for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
docketing the complaint, or as soon thereafter as
practicable, the Court must review the complaint to identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint if it: (1) is
frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure requires only “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” In Bell Atlantic Corporation v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), the Court stated,
“a plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to
relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do. . . . Factual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ”
citing 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice
and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-236 (3d ed. 2004). A
complaint must contain enough facts to state a claim for
relief that is plausible on its face, not merely conceivable.
Twombly at 570. However, a pro se
plaintiff's allegations must be construed liberally.
Burke v. North Dakota Dept. of Corr. & Rehab.,
294 F.3d 1043, 1043-1044 (8th Cir.2002) (citations omitted).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that the conduct of a defendant acting under color of
state law deprived him of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the United States Constitution or by federal law.
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Cantu alleges that the restroom and
sink area are consistently leaking, creating hazardous and
unsanitary conditions. Doc. No. 4. He claims that he has
slipped while washing his hands and the issue has not been
resolved. Id. The Court construes Cantu's
amended complaint as describing an Eighth Amendment
conditions of confinement claim.
treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the conditions of
his confinement are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth
Amendment. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832
(1970). To prevail on a conditions of confinement claim, a
prisoner must show (1) the alleged deprivation was,
“objectively, sufficiently serious, ” and
resulted “in the denial of the minimal civilized
measure of life's necessities, ” and (2) prison
officials were deliberately indifferent to “an
excessive risk to inmate health or safety.”
Farmer, 511 at 834. In other words, a plaintiff must
prove the existence of objectively harsh conditions of
confinement, together with a subjectively culpable state of
mind by prison officials in condoning or creating the
conditions. Choate v. Lockhart, 7 F.3d 1370, 1373
(8th Cir. 1993); Revels v. Vincenz, 382 F.3d 870,
875 (8th Cir. 2004). “[D]iscomfort compelled by
conditions of confinement, without more, does not violate the
amendment.” Smith v. Coughlin, 748 F.2d 783,
787 (2nd Cir. 1984) (quoting Jackson v. Meachum, 699
F.2d 578, 581 (1st Cir. 1983)).
Eighth Amendment claims are subject to dismissal for three
Cantu has not alleged facts sufficient to support a claim
that he has been subjected to objectively harsh conditions of
confinement. He has not alleged that he was denied life's
necessities such as food, shelter, and water or that he has
suffered the unnecessary or wanton infliction of pain.
Rather, Cantu alleges that there was a leaky sink that caused
unsanitary and hazardous conditions.
Cantu's amended complaint does not describe how each
defendant was involved in the alleged constitutional
violations. A defendant may not be held liable under §
1983 unless he was personally involved in or had direct
responsibility for the constitutional violation. See
Mayorga v. Missouri, 442 F.3d 1128, 1132 (8th Cir. 2006)
(“Liability under section 1983 requires a causal link
to, and direct responsibility for, the deprivation of
rights.”) (internal quotations and citations omitted).
Cantu alleges no injury as a result of the alleged conditions
in the Saline County Detention Center. Because a § 1983
action is a type of tort claim, general principles of tort
law require that a plaintiff suffer some actual injury before
he can receive compensation. See Irving v. Dormire,
519 F.3d 441, 448 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing Carey v.
Piphus, 435 U.S. 247, 253-55 (1978)).
these reasons, Cantu's amended complaint should be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may