United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. HAMILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil detainee currently being held at Maryville Treatment
Center in Maryville, Missouri, seeks leave to proceed in
forma pauperis in this civil action brought pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. The motion will be granted. Additionally,
the Court will partially dismiss the complaint and will order
the Clerk to issue process or cause process to be issued on
the non-frivolous portions of the complaint.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to dismiss a
complaint filed in forma pauperis if it is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. To state a claim for relief, 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.
Kevin Bunch, is currently a civil detainee at Maryville
Treatment Center in Maryville, Missouri. He brings this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations
of his civil rights. Plaintiff names two defendants in this
action: Pacience Cortney, the Assistant Jail Administrator of
the Randolph County Sheriff's Department, as well as
William Wagner, a Randolph County Sheriff's Deputy. Both
individuals are named in this lawsuit in their individual and
claims in this lawsuit stem from his incarceration at the
Randolph County Jail from March 28, 2016 through May 26,
2016. Plaintiff claims that during this time period he was
repeatedly threatened by two individuals who were housed with
him at the Randolph County Jail, and these threats eventually
culminated in a physical attack which caused him to need
claims that defendant Wagner provided plaintiff with medical
treatment after his first attack at the Jail, and it was at
this time that he told defendant Wagner that he needed to be
moved to “another pod or another county” because
of the threats. Plaintiff claims that defendant Wagner told
him that he would place plaintiff in protective custody at
that time and that his cell would be watched. Plaintiff
asserts that defendant Wagner also told plaintiff that he
would report the threats and the attack to defendant Cortney,
who would ultimately make the decision what to do with
plaintiff. After this conversation, plaintiff claims that he
was not moved to protective custody, nor was his cell
assignment changed in any way.
alleges that the day after he spoke with defendant Wagner his
“cell was popped” and he was again attacked.
Plaintiff claims that he was physically injured, and he had
to be taken to the emergency room, where it was found he
sustained damage to his lungs and his ribs.
seeks compensatory and punitive damages in this action.
reviewing plaintiff's complaint, the Court believes that
plaintiff has provided enough facts in his complaint to
allege a failure to protect claim against defendant Wagner in
his individual capacity. The Court will instruct the Clerk of
Court to issue process as to defendant Wagner on this claim.
claims against both defendants Wagner and Cortney in their
official capacity are subject to dismissal as naming a
government official in his official capacity is the
equivalent of naming the government entity that employs the
official - in this case, Randolph County. Will v.
Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989). To state a claim against Randolph County, plaintiff
must allege that a policy or custom of Randolph County is
responsible for the alleged constitutional violation.
Monell v. Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S.
658, 690-91 (1978). The instant complaint does not contain
any allegations that a policy or custom of Randolph County or
the Randolph County Sheriff's Department was responsible
for the alleged violations of plaintiff's constitutional
rights. As a result, the complaint fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted against defendants Wagner
and Cortney in their official capacities and these claims
will be dismissed.
plaintiff's claims against defendant Cortney, in his
individual capacity, are also subject to dismissal.
''Liability under 42 U.S.C. § 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
also Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1338 (8th Cir.
1985) (claim not cognizable under § 1983 where plaintiff
fails to allege defendant was personally involved in or
directly responsible for incidents that injured plaintiff);
Boyd v. Knox, 47 F.3d 966, 968 (8th Cir. 1995)
(respondeat superior theory inapplicable in ' 1983
suits). In the instant action, plaintiff has not set forth
any facts indicating that defendant Cortney was directly