Jackson v. Jefferson County Jail et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins on 4/9/2014. (JLC)
2014 Apr-09 PM 04:52
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
TIMOTHY X. JACKSON,
) Case No.: 2:14-CV-228-VEH
JEFFERSON COUNTY JAIL, et al., )
This case comes before the court on the plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Doc. 8.) 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (2006) governs proceedings in forma pauperis
for nonprisoner plaintiffs such as Mr. Jackson. See Martinez v. Kristi Kleaners, Inc.,
364 F.3d 1305, 1306 n.1 (11th Cir. 2004) (“Despite the statute’s use of the phrase
‘prisoner possesses,’ the affidavit requirement applies to all persons requesting leave
to proceed IFP.”); see also Haynes v. Scott, 116 F.3d 137, 140 (5th Cir. 1997) (“We
agree with the analysis of the Sixth Circuit and hold that the affidavit requirement of
section 1915(a)(1) applies to all persons applying to proceed i.f.p.”). The statute also
[n]otwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have
been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court
determines that . . . the action or appeal . . . is frivolous or malicious[,]
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted[,] or seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C.A. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii), (iii).
On March 11, 2014, the court first addressed this motion writing:
The plaintiff names the following defendants in this case: the
“Jefferson County Jail,” Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale, “Judge
Owens,” and “[a]ll officers within the jail.” As his “Statement of Claim”
the plaintiff writes:
I was in Jeff[erson] Co[unty] [j]ail and they knew I was
sick and was in [b]ad [h]ealth. [T]here for [sic] I was
place[d] on 3rd [f]loor medical [floor]. But they moved me
to 7th [floor][.] But due to them moving me cause [sic] me
to have a seizure on [sic] went into a coma for 3 days [a]nd
woke up in ICU at UAB and I lost 3 tooth [sic] and now on
a walking cane for the rest of my life due to this fact.
(Doc. 1 at 3-4). These allegations fail to state a claim against any of the
First, all of the defendants are government actors. Government
actors, in their individual capacities, are protected by qualified immunity
from civil damage claims, “provided that their conduct does not violate
clearly established constitutional rights.” Tinney v. Shores, 77 F.3d 378,
381 (11th Cir. 1996). The complaint alleges no violation of clearly
The complaint fails to state that anyone named “Judge Owens”
Too, the plaintiff must identify defendants more specifically than “all officers with in
[sic] the jail.” (Doc. 1 at 3).
did anything at all. Too, in additional to also enjoying qualified
immunity, under both Alabama and Federal law, “Judges acting in an
official judicial capacity are entitled to absolute judicial immunity.” Ex
parte City of Greensboro, 948 So. 2d 540, 542 (Ala. 2006); see also,
Bolin v. Story, 225 F.3d 1234, 1239 (11th Cir. 2000) (“Judges are
entitled to absolute judicial immunity from damages for those acts taken
while they are acting in their judicial capacity unless they acted in the
clear absence of all jurisdiction.”) (internal quotations omitted) (citing
Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349, 356–57, 98 S.Ct. 1099, 55 L.Ed.2d
Under Alabama law, “sheriffs and deputy sheriffs are considered
executive officers of the state, and are therefore immune from suit in
both their official and individual capacities.” Johnson v. Conner, 720
F.3d 1311, 1313 (11th Cir. 2013). Further, “the eleventh amendment
[generally] bar[s] a [civil rights] lawsuit against an Alabama sheriff [and
his deputies] in [their] official capacity.” Carr v. City of Florence, Ala.,
916 F.2d 1521, 1525 (11th Cir. 1990). In their individual capacities,
these defendants also have qualified immunity.
The court also notes that “the Jefferson County Jail” is not a
proper legal entity subject to suit. See, Bird v. Chatham Cnty. Det. Ctr.,
CV407-150, 2008 WL 68842 at *4 (S.D. Ga. Jan. 2, 2008) (and cases
cited therein). Finally, the complaint gives no dates on which the
alleged conduct occurred, so the court cannot discern whether the
applicable statute of limitations has expired.
(Doc. 9 at 2-3). The court then ordered the following:
No later than March 25, 2014, the plaintiff may file a complete
AMENDED COMPLAINT which clearly sets out
The names and addresses of each person or entity which
the plaintiff wishes to sue;
What each defendant did to the plaintiff INCLUDING
THE DATES OF EACH SUCH ACT;
The causes of action the plaintiff claims against each
defendant and/or the laws which the plaintiff claims were
violated by each defendant.
The relief requested by the plaintiff.
The court DEFERS a ruling on the instant motion until the
plaintiff has filed the aforementioned amendment.
Should the amendment not be filed by March 25, 2011, this action
will be DISMISSED for failure to prosecute.
(Doc. 9 at 4) (bold in original).
On March 21, 2014, the plaintiff filed his amended complaint. (Doc. 10).
ALLEGATIONS IN THE AMENDED COMPLAINT
In the caption of the Amended Complaint the plaintiff now names as
defendants: “Jeff. Co. Jail the officer on first shift who moved me to the wrong floor
the medical floor.” (Doc. 10 at 1).2 He also writes: “who moved me off medical floor
and not allow me to take my meds for 17 days. Put me in a coma and ICU.” (Doc.
10 at 1). Also in the caption of this document the plaintiff has written: “This is my
Amended Complaint 3-19-2014 Medical Records show from 11-4-2013 to 11-7-2013
I was in a coma.” (Doc. 10 at 1).
The court has changed some quotes, and some portions of quotes, without notation.
Any change made was simply to change clear spelling issues, or substitute the full word in place
of an unclear abbreviation used by the plaintiff. Notations to each of these changes would have
made the document unreadable. Further, for the same reason, and in an effort to include, as best
it can, the true meaning of what the plaintiff has written, the court has included many quotes
without changes, and has not noted with “sic” or any other signal, obvious grammatical errors.
In the body of the Amended Complaint the plaintiff identifies the following
defendants: Jefferson County Jail; “Really do not know the officer name Jeff Co has
a log of it The officer that moved me to the wrong floor knowing I was sick they kept
my meds in booking I was no allow to take it;” “Jefferson County Jail they almost
killed me. You have my medical records you see what happen to me;” “Jefferson
County Jail.” (Doc. 10 at 2).
The amended complaint states that “jurisdiction of this court is invoked
pursuant to please give me justice or is justice still in the United States read the jail
records from 11-3-2013 . . . to 11-7-2013.” (Doc. 1 at 2). In the portion of the
complaint asking the plaintiff to set out the “facts” of his case he writes:
You all have my medical records and can see my problems happen
within Jefferson County Jail Please give me the proper justice I need we
can take this to the 11 Circuit in Atlanta or to Washington DC Please
give me some Justice and some peace I was not allowed to have my
Holy Quran in Jefferson County Jail or a pork free diet It was God
Grace I did not die I have mental and physical problems from this is
their justice left in these United States. Those peoples were wrong for
what they did to me I almost died. It was God Grace I did not die I am
handicap for life due to this matter.
(Doc. 10 at 2-3). The Amended Complaint also asks for $15 million
because mental, physical, and emotional they have mess my life up to
where as I do not know what happen to me from 11-4-2013 until 11-72013 and still do not what really happen to me.
(Doc. 10 at 3). After the plaintiff’s signature appears: “This is my Amended
Complaint 3-19-2014 . . . Please give me some Justice on this matter I was not in this
condition until this Happen until 11-4-2014 until now.”
Attached to the Amended Complaint is a statement by the plaintiff which reads:
To the courts we all know that our forefathers made these United states
the land of the Free and that all men should be treated fair and with
respect, and justice my rights were violated on 11-4-2013 Jefferson
County Jail has a log that would tell why they moved me from the
medical floor. Really and truthful I would like to know what they did or
what Really Happen to me I am Muslim and was not allowed my Holy
Quran or a pork free diet.
(Doc. 10 at 5).
The remaining attachments to the Amended Complaint include: a February 11,
2014, letter from the plaintiff to “UAB Hospital” asking that entity to forward his
medical records to this court (doc. 10 at 6); an “In Forma Pauperis Affidavit” filed
March 21, 2014 (doc. 10 at 7-11); and four summonses (doc. 10 at 12, 13, 14, 15).
Each of these documents contains no factual allegations, or contains substantially
similar factual allegations to those already listed above.
For the reasons stated in the court’s previous order, all claims against
“Jefferson County Jail,” are due to be dismissed. Defendants “Mike Hale,” and
“Judge Owens,” who were not named in the Amended Complaint, are also due to be
The only other defendant named in the Amended Complaint is an “officer”
whose name the plaintiff does not know, “who moved him to the wrong floor,” and
“off the medical floor.” (Doc. 10 at 1).
To the extent that the Amended Complaint attempts to make a claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of the plaintiff’s civil rights, “the eleventh amendment
[generally] bar[s] a [civil rights] lawsuit against an Alabama sheriff [and his deputies]
in [their] official capacity.” Carr v. City of Florence, Ala., 916 F.2d 1521, 1525 (11th
Government actors, in their individual capacities, are protected by qualified
immunity from civil damage claims, “provided that their conduct does not violate
clearly established constitutional rights.” Tinney v. Shores, 77 F.3d 378, 381 (11th
Cir. 1996). The courts have long recognized that the government has an obligation
to provide medical care for those it has incarcerated and that inmates must necessarily
rely on prison authorities to meet their medical needs as those needs arise. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103 (1976).
Therefore, a prison official’s deliberate
indifference to the serious medical needs of prisoners violates the Eighth
Amendment. Id. at 104. “If prison guards delay or deny access to medical care or
intentionally interfere with treatment once prescribed, the Eighth Amendment is
violated.” Washington v. Dugger, 860 F.2d 1018, 1021 (11th Cir. 1988), citing
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976).
The court construes the plaintiff’s allegation that the “officer” moved him and
then denied him his medicine for 17 days, as an attempt to allege a denial or
interference with treatment claim. However, a complaint must “state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). “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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). That is, the
complaint must include enough facts “to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The plaintiff does not explain his medical
condition, why he was on “the medical floor,” why he was moved from “the medical
floor,” the name and purpose of his medication, or how the officer’s conduct caused
him to go into a coma. In the absence of such facts, the court cannot say that the
plaintiff’s Eight Amendment claim is plausible. Therefore, it is due to be dismissed.
Similarly, the Amended Complaint’s attempt to set out a completely new and
unrelated claim for denying the plaintiff his “Holy Quran” and “a pork free diet,” is
due to be dismissed as devoid of facts in support of the claim.
To the extent that the complaint attempts to allege a claim based on Alabama
law, that claim is also barred because “sheriffs and deputy sheriffs are considered
executive officers of the state, and are therefore immune from suit in both their
official and individual capacities.” Johnson v. Conner, 720 F.3d 1311, 1313 (11th
For the foregoing reasons, this action will be DISMISSED. The plaintiff’s
motion to proceed in forma pauperis will be DENIED as moot.
DONE and ORDERED this 9th day of April, 2014.
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS
United States District Judge
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