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Bullock v. Franklin County Adult Detention Center

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

June 17, 2019




         This matter is before the Court upon review of the amended complaint filed by pro se plaintiff Brian Bullock. On March 26, 2019, the Court granted plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis but ordered that plaintiff file an amended complaint. For the reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss this action without prejudice.

         Legal Standard on Initial Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis if it is frivolous, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 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.

         When reviewing a pro se complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court accepts the well-pled facts as true, White v. Clark, 750 F.2d 721, 722 (8th Cir. 1984), and liberally construes the complaint. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). A “liberal construction” means that if the essence of an allegation is discernible, the district court should construe the plaintiff's complaint in a way that permits his or her claim to be considered within the proper legal framework. Solomon v. Petray, 795 F.3d 777, 787 (8th Cir. 2015). However, even pro se complaints are required to allege facts which, if true, state a claim for relief as a matter of law. Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282, 1286 (8th Cir. 1980). See also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914-15 (8th Cir. 2004) (refusing to supply additional facts or to construct a legal theory for the pro se plaintiff that assumed facts that had not been pleaded).


         Plaintiff, currently being held at the Fulton Reception and Diagnostic Center (“FRDC”) in Missouri, filed his initial complaint in the District of Arizona on December 4, 2018, and it was transferred to this Court on January 29, 2019. Plaintiff also filed an “Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, ” which was construed by the Court as a motion and granted.

         Plaintiff brought his initial complaint in this matter under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his civil rights against five defendants: (1) the Franklin County Adult Detention Center (“FCADC”); (2) Steve Pelton (Sheriff at FCADC); (3) Stacy Carty (Sargent at FCADC); (4) Darren Vest (prisoner at FCADC); and (5) Jerry Carty (Sargent at FCADC). Plaintiff's complaint allegations were all based on an alleged assault by his cellmate Darren Vest and the lack of timely medical treatment he received following the assault.

         On March 26, 2019, the Court reviewed plaintiff complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and found that it failed to state claim upon which relief could be granted. However, because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court allowed plaintiff the opportunity to submit an amended complaint. But the Court warned plaintiff that the amended complaint would again be reviewed under § 1915.

         Plaintiff submitted an amended complaint on April 8, 2019.

         Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff's amended complaint, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, names only three defendants: (1) Stacy Carty (Sargent/Deputy Sheriff); (2) Jerry Carty (Sargent/Deputy Sheriff); and (3) Darren Vest (prisoner at FCADC). Stacy and Jerry Carty (husband and wife) are both named in their official capacities only, while Darren Vest is named in his individual capacity only.

         The factual allegations of the amended complaint are essentially the same as the initial complaint. Unbeknownst to plaintiff, while he was at video court on October 11, his cellmate Darren Vest assaulted two other inmates. After court, he was sent back to his cell where Vest was located. Plaintiff fell asleep and was awoken by Vest poking his eye and hitting him in the face repeatedly.

         Plaintiff claims that defendant Stacy Carty violated FCADC policy by locking him in a cell with an inmate who had just assaulted other inmates. According to plaintiff, policy requires that an inmate be isolated after the first assault. Plaintiff also claims he was in “protective custody” at the time of the assault. Plaintiff asserts that he was in a lot of pain after the assault but that Stacy Carty would not let him go to the emergency room. Stacy Carty also encouraged him not to “press charges” because it would be more paperwork for her. Following Stacy Carty's work shift at FCADC, her husband Jerry Carty began ...

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