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Williams v. Runyon

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

January 10, 2020

CHARLES ARRON WILLIAMS PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF RUNYON, Miller County; WARDEN WALKER, Miller County Detention Center “MCDC”; CAPTAIN ADAMS, MCDC; L.T. MILLER, MCDC; SGT. GRIFFIE, MCDC; CORP. BURNS, MCDC; CORP. HENDERSON; SGT. GUTHRIE, MCDC; CPL. MOORE, MCDC; CPL. WALKER, MCDC; CPL. WEBB, MCDC; CPL. SMITH, MCDC; SGT. RODGERS, MCDC; C.O. STUDDER, MCDC; C.O. FONT, MCDC; C.O. FERREL; C.O. JONES, MCDC; C.O. BURNS, MCDC; C.O. GOLDEN, MCDC; C.O. LOWBIG, MCDC; NURSE KING, MCDC MEDICAL STAFF; NURSE REDFEARN, MCDC MEDICAL STAFF; NURSE ADAMS, MCDC MEDICAL STAFF; and NURSE CHELSIE, MCDC MEDICAL STAFF DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          Susan O. Hickey Chief United States District Judge

         This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff Charles Arron Williams pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds 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”), 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Pursuant to the PLRA, the Court has the obligation to screen any complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his complaint on October 15, 2019. (ECF No. 1). That same day, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 3). The Court also entered an order directing Plaintiff to file an amended complaint by November 5, 2019. (ECF No. 3). The Court's order further directed the Clerk of Court to mail Plaintiff a court-approved section 1983 form to use for filing the amended complaint and stated that Plaintiff's amended complaint should include:

short, plain statements telling the Court: the constitutional right Plaintiff believes was violated; the name of the Defendant who violated the right; exactly what the Defendant did or failed to do; how the action or inaction of that Defendant is connected to the violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights; and what specific injury Plaintiff suffered because of the misconduct of that Defendant. See Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-72, 377 (1976). Plaintiff must repeat this process for each person he has named as a Defendant. Plaintiff is CAUTIONED that he must affirmatively link the conduct of each named Defendant with the specific injury he suffered. If he fails to do so, the allegations against that Defendant will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

Id.

         Plaintiff's Amended Complaint was filed on November 1, 2019. (ECF No. 10). Plaintiff lists the following Defendants: Sheriff Runyon, Miller County; Warden Walker, Miller County Detention Center (“MCDC”); Captain Adams, MCDC; Lt. Miller, MCDC; Sgt. Griffie, MCDC; Corp. Burns, MCDC; Corp. Henderson, MCDC; Sgt. Guthrie, MCDC; Cpl. Moore, MCDC; Cpl. Walker, MCDC; Cpl. Webb, MCDC; Cpl. Smith, MCDC; Sgt. Rodgers, MCDC; C.O. Studder, MCDC; C.O. Fant, MCDC; C.O. Ferrel, MCDC; C.O. Jones, MCDC; C.O. Burns, MCDC; C.O. Golden, MCDC; C.O. Lowbig, MCDC; Nurse King, MCDC Medical Staff; Nurse Redfearn, MCDC Medical Staff; Nurse Adams, MCDC Medical Staff; and, Nurse Chelsie, MCDC Medical Staff.

         Plaintiff's amended complaint mentions an “incident” which occurred on April 9, 2019. (ECF No. 10). Although, Plaintiff does not specifically state what occurred during the “incident, ” he states that no officers were present or in the watch tower at the time. Id. The amended complaint further asserts that Plaintiff was injured as a result of the “incident, ” and Plaintiff states that after the “incident” he “was threatened by the Inmates who physically assaulted [him] not to expose them.” Id. The Court, therefore, assumes the “incident” involved some sort of altercation with other inmates.

         Plaintiff states that his first claim is for “unprofessional conduct, safety and health concerns/ medical concerns, ” with the date of occurrence reportedly April 9, 2019. (ECF No. 10). Specifically, Plaintiff states that he believes his “equal protection rights were violated by officers who were supposed to be [i]n the watch tower.” Id. Plaintiff states that there were no officers present in the watch tower at the time of the incident; and, because he is not sure which officers were supposed to be in the tower at the time of the incident, his list of Defendants “consist[s] of everyone who could have been on duty on the date of 04-09-19.” (ECF No. 10). Plaintiff further states specifically that Lt. Miller, C.O. Golden, and Sgt. Griffie “came to retrieve [him] after the incident.” Id. Plaintiff states that after the incident he “laid [in his] rack for days after the [i]ncident before Miller County Officers finally observed three days after the [i]ncident occurred that I was injured.” Id. Plaintiff states: “I was threatened by the Inmates who physically assaulted me not to expose them. I was barely able to move or function.” Id. Plaintiff states “I [b]elieve that my equal protection rights were violated by officers who were supposed to be in the watchtower, we are all entitled to safe & clean environment.” Id. Plaintiff states that he also had serious medical concerns that were not addressed by the Miller County Officers when they “finally observed the incident three days after it occurred.” Id. Plaintiff states that the officers placed him “in confinement before addressing medical concerns.” Id. Plaintiff states that he is suing the Defendants in both their official and individual capacities and states the following when asked to describe the custom or policy he believes caused the constitutional violation: “U.S. Constitutional Amendment 8, cruel and unusual punishment inflicted (Medical Staff Neglect).” Id.

         With respect to Plaintiff's second claim, he states he believes that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated by Nurse Redfearn “for medical staff neglect and the Miller County Officers who took me to confinement before medical after the incident, which is cruel and unusual punishment.” (ECF No. 10). Plaintiff states that the only officers he remembers are Lt. Miller, C.O. Golden, and Sgt. Griffie. (ECF No. 10). With respect to his claims against medical staff, Plaintiff additionally names Nurse King, Nurse Adams, and Nurse Chelsie as Defendants. He states that he included the medical team “because for three days I was laying in my rack with severe injuries. I was supposed to be taking meds, and they did not call my name or ask me to sign a refusal. I did not get up to take my meds because I could barely move/function and because I was threatened by my attackers not to expose them.” Id. Again, Plaintiff states “when Miller County officers finally observed the incident 3 days later, I was took to confinement before given medical treatment, and when I was given medical treatment finally by Nurse Redfearn I was not examined properly. She only asked me if my head hurt as she touched it.” Plaintiff states that he listed all the medical team because “I'm not sure if they were on duty and passing out meds the 3 days I was laid up injured and did not call my name or even give me a refusal to sign.” (ECF No. 10).

         APPLICABLE LAW

         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 Eric ...


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