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Krauss v. Holcomb

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

May 24, 2018

PAUL W. KRAUSS, Plaintiff,
JAY HOLCOMB, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff, a prisoner, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Having reviewed plaintiffs financial information, the Court assesses a partial initial filing fee of $10.00, which is reasonable based en the information the Court has about plaintiffs finances.[1] See Henderson v. Norris, 129 F.3d 481, 484 (8th Cir. 1997). Furthermore, based upon a review of the complaint, the Court finds that the complaint should be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         Standard of Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to catmiss 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 roust 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.

         When reviewing a complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court accepts the well-pled facts as true. Furthermore, the Court liberally construes the allegations.

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff, an inmate at Mississippi County Detention Center (''MCDC"), filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging the MCDC violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. He also brings claims against two individual defendants, Jay Holcomb and Faith [Unknown], alleging these defendants stole his cell phone from his personal property. Plaintiff has aiso nameo, as defendants the Missouri Highway Patrol and Judge S. Rob Barker.

         Plaintiff alleges two claims under the Eighth Amendment, one for failure to treat his tendonitis in his right wrist, and one for failure to treat his suicidal thoughts. Plaintiff alleges the tendon in his wrist snapped, causing him intense pain, and tie was not taken to the emergency room for four and a half hours. He also alleges unnamed start at the MCDC were told he was suicidal, but it took staff thirty-five days to prescribe medication and counseling.

         Finally, plaintiff alleges due process violations against Judge S. Rob Barker for allegedly improperly signing a search warrant. For relief, plaintiff seeks monetary damages of $1, 000, 000.00.


         Plaintiffs basic claims are twofold: (1) defendants Jay Holcomb and Faith [Unknown] stole his phone; and (2) defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights when they (a) did not immediately send him to the emergency room after his tendon injury, and (b) did not give him medications and counseling for thirty-five days after notice that he was suicidal.

         As to plaintiffs complaints that defendant; Holcomb and Faith [Unknown] stole his phone, there is no cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for unconstitutional taking of personal property where the state provides an adequate post-deprivation remedy. E.g., Clark v. Kansas City Mo. Sch. Dist., 375 F.3d 693, 703 (8th Cir. 2004). if the taking of property by prison officials is intentional and the state provides an adequate post-deprivation remedy, there is no violation of due process. Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517 (1984); Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527 (1981), overruled on other grounds, Daniels v. Williams, 4 74 U.S. 327, 328 (1986); Orebaugh v. Caspari, 910 F.2d 526, 527 (6th Cir. 1990) (taking did not violate due process because Missouri prisoner had adequate post-deprivation remedy). Plaintiff does not allege that he lacks an adequate post-deprivation remedy. Missouri provides the post-deprivation remedy of replevin for recovery of personal property. Id.; Mo. R. Civ. P, 99.01 - 99.15. As a result, plaintiffs complaint regarding the theft of his phone will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         As to plaintiffs Eighth Amendment medical claims, he states that he has tendonitis in his right wrist. Before being incarcerated, plaintiff's doctor told him that his tendonitis required surgery. Plaintiff states his tendon "finally snapped" at MCDC on November 22, 2017, but he was not seen in the emergency room for more man four hours. Plaintiff was treated in the emergency room, and he has not alleged any further harm. Plaintiff does not allege that the brief delay in treatment was responsible for aggravating his condition. "The Constitution does not require jailers to handle every medical complaint as quickly as eacb inmate might wish." Jenkins v. County of Hennepin, Minn., 557 F.3d 628, 632 (8th Cir, 2009) (citing Johnson v. Hamilton, 452 F.3d 967, 973 (8th Cir. 2006)). A delay as brief and as non-detrimental as plaintiff alleges does not state a claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. See Johnson, 452 F.3d at 973 (concluding that a one-month delay m treating a fractured finger did not rise to a constitutional violation); Givens v. Jones, 900 F.2d 1229, 1233 (8th Cir. 1990) (finding that a prisoner's claim for delay of one month between complaint of leg pain and visit with doctor was insufficient to state a constitutional claim absent allegations the condition required immediate attention or the delay in treatment aggravated the condition).

         Likewise, plaintiff states that he told 'ail staff' at MCDC that he was suicidal but that it took "them" thirty-five days to treat him with medication and counseling. Again, plaintiff does not allege that the delay in treatment was responsible tor aggravating his condition. Id. Absent such allegation, plaintiff has failed to state a plausioie claim, Moreover, plaintiff does not identify any named defendant who deliberately disregarded his request. To state a claim for cruel and unusual punishment, plaintiff must allege that he had a serious medical need and that defendant knew of and deliberately disregarded. See Farmer v. Brennan, SI I U.S. 825, 834 (1994). Plaintiff's statement that he told "all staff' of his Suicidal thoughts, and it took "them" too long for treatment is too conciusory to state a plausible claim aosent any allegation that any defendant deliberately disregarded his medical needs. See iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555) ("Threadbare recitals of the ...

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