Harrell v. Mississippi County et al
ORDER granting 18 Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff's claims against Mississippi County are dismissed with prejudice, and Mississippi County is removed as a party Defendant. Signed by Magistrate Judge H. David Young on 3/14/2014. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
CHARLES KENNETH HARRELL, JR.
AKA Clark Jr.
MISSISSIPPI COUNTY et al.
Plaintiff Charles Kenneth Harrell, Jr., who is currently held at the Mississippi County
Detention Facility, filed a pro se complaint on November 18, 2013. On February 24, 2014,
Defendant Mississippi County filed a motion to dismiss, along with a brief in support (docket entries
#18 & #19). Plaintiff has filed responses (docket entries #21 & #26).
I. Standard of review
FED.R.CIV.P. 8(a)(2) requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” In Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(overruling Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1967), and setting new standard for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted), the Court stated, “a plaintiff’s obligation to provide the
‘grounds’ of his ‘entitle[ment]to relief’ requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do....Factual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level,” citing 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice
and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-236 (3d ed. 2004). A complaint must contain enough facts to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, not merely conceivable. Twombly at 570.
Nevertheless, in Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), the Supreme Court emphasized
that when ruling upon a motion to dismiss in a § 1983 action, a pro se complaint must be liberally
construed and held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. However,
such liberal pleading standards apply only to a plaintiff’s factual allegations. Neitzke v. Williams,
490 U.S. 319, 330 n. 9 (1989).
Plaintiff asserts in his complaint that he was physically abused when his hands were
handcuffed behind his back and shackled to his feet for six and a half hours. Plaintiff claims he was
denied adequate medical care for his injuries after the event, was denied a shower for four days, and
that his legal paperwork was destroyed.
Mississippi County argues that Plaintiff has failed to allege that any of the challenged actions
were taken pursuant to an official custom or policy, and that his claims against the county should
therefore be dismissed. A local government may not be sued under section 1983 on a respondeat
superior theory. Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). In order to
establish Mississippi County’s liability, Plaintiff must prove a policy, practice, or custom,
attributable to the county, and show that the policy, practice, or custom, directly caused a
constitutional injury. See Gatlin ex rel. Estate of Gatlin v. Green, 362 F.3d 1089, 1094 (8th Cir.
2004). Because Plaintiff failed to allege that the actions described in his complaint were taken
pursuant to a policy, practice, or custom, of Mississippi County, his claims against the county must
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT the motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Mississippi
County (docket entry #18) is GRANTED, Plaintiff’s claims against Mississippi County are
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, and Mississippi County is removed as a party Defendant.
14 day of March, 2014.
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?