United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
WILLIE C. ROBERTSON, JR., Plaintiff,
DIRELL ALEXANDER, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on review of plaintiff’s
complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The complaint fails
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and it is
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), the Court is required to dismiss a
complaint filed by a prisoner if it is frivolous, malicious,
or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
To state a claim for relief under § 1983, a complaint
must plead more than “legal conclusions” and
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action [that are] supported by mere conclusory
statements.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). A plaintiff must demonstrate a plausible claim
for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of
misconduct.” Id. at 679. “A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. at 678. Determining whether a complaint states a
plausible claim for relief is a context-specific task that
requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense. Id. at 679.
claims that defendant Direll Alexander directed a newly hired
correctional officer to accompany him and another inmate
while they handed out lunch trays in the juvenile wing. The
juveniles were on lockdown because of misconduct. Alexander
advised the officer by radio that the “area might be
unsecure” When they entered the wing, they were
attacked by one of the juvenile inmates who had rigged his
cell door to stay open. Plaintiff says the attack
“caught both inmates and trainee correction officer off
guard.” In one of his grievances, he complained that he
had been “injured slightly.” His injuries were
treated and video evidence of the attack was captured.
responded and interviewed plaintiff, and plaintiff also filed
a written report. Plaintiff says defendant Loretta Prowell
assisted Alexander and interviewed him and the other inmate.
He claims that she failed to mention anything about a follow
up police report, however.
Nathan Strickland, the acting grievance officer, did not
respond to plaintiff’s request for a grievance form.
Richard Gray and Dale Glass are supervisory officials and are
sued in that capacity.
state a failure-to-protect claim, a plaintiff is required to
allege that defendants were aware of facts from which they
could infer the existence of a substantial risk of serious
harm to him, they actually drew the inference, and they
failed to take reasonable steps to protect him. See
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 836-38, 844 (1994).
Assault by a fellow inmate constitutes “serious
harm.” Jensen v. Clarke, 94 F.3d 1191, 1198
(8th Cir. 1996). A single incident of violence may, in some
circumstances, support a failure-to-protect claim. See
Young v. Selk, 508 F.3d 868, 870-73 (8th Cir.
2007) (discussing potential for substantial risk where inmate
told officials of cellmate’s threats, requested to be
removed from cell immediately, said it was an emergency, and
was subsequently attacked). Plaintiff’s allegations
against Alexander do not show that he was either aware of a
substantial risk of serious harm or that he drew that
inference. He claims Alexander told the new officer that the
area “might be unsecure, ” and he says
that the new officer was caught off guard. These allegations
may rise to the level of negligence, but they do not state a
plausible claim for unconstitutional failure to protect.
under § 1983 requires a causal link to, and direct
responsibility for, the alleged deprivation of rights.”
Madewell v. Roberts, 909 F.2d 1203, 1208 (8th Cir.
1990); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676
(2009) (“Because vicarious liability is inapplicable to
Bivens and § 1983 suits, a plaintiff must plead
that each Government-official defendant, through the
official’s own individual actions, has violated the
Constitution.”); Camberos v. Branstad, 73 F.3d
174, 176 (8th Cir. 1995) (“a general responsibility for
supervising the operations of a prison is insufficient to
establish the personal involvement required to support
liability.”); George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605,
609 (7th Cir. 2007) (“Only persons who cause or
participate in the [constitutional] violations are
responsible. Ruling against a prisoner on an administrative
complaint does not cause or contribute to the
violation.”). There are no allegations showing that
defendants Prowell, Strickland, Gray, or Glass were directly
responsible for plaintiff’s injuries. Therefore, the
complaint must be dismissed.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s
motions for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [ECF Nos. 3,
5] are DENIED as moot.
IS FURTHER ORDERED this action is