Turner v. Munyen et al
ORDER dismissing without prejudice Plaintiff's claims. Signed by Judge Susan Webber Wright on 3/30/2015. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PHILLIP LEE TURNER
CASE NO. 4:15-CV-103 SWW/BD
MUNYEN, et al.
Phillip Lee Turner, formerly a pre-trial detainee at the Faulkner County Detention
Center, filed this lawsuit pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the Defendants
acted with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. (Docket entry #2) Mr.
Turner, however, named the Defendants in their official capacities only.
All Defendants are employees of Faulkner County, Arkansas. Mr. Turner’s claims
against the Defendants in their official capacities are, in effect, claims against Faulkner
County itself. Parrish v. Ball, 594 F.3d 993, 997 (8th Cir. 2010). Local governments are
not liable under § 1983 for injuries inflicted solely by their employees or agents. Monell
v. New York Dep’t. of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694, 98 S.Ct. 2018 (1978). Rather, a
county is liable for the acts of its employee only when the employee is carrying out a
county policy or custom. Id.; Jenkins v. County of Hennepin, Minn., 557 F.3d 628, 632
(8th Cir. 2009). For purposes of § 1983, a policy is a “deliberate choice of a guiding
principle or procedure made by the municipal official who has final authority regarding
such matters.” Marksmeier v. Davie, 622 F.3d 896, 902 (8th Cir. 2010).
To establish a custom, a plaintiff must prove that the county engaged in a
continuing pattern of unconstitutional misconduct, not just a single unconstitutional act.
Id. at 902–903. Here, Mr. Turner has not alleged any Faulkner County policy or custom
that caused him an injury.
The Court gave Mr. Turner thirty days to amend his complaint so that he could
either identify an unconstitutional County policy or custom or, in the alternative, clarify
whether he intended to sue the Defendants in their individual capacities. (#4) The Court
specifically cautioned Mr. Turner that his failure to amend his complaint could result in
the dismissal of some or all of his claims. Although Mr. Turner has written the Court a
letter further explaining his need for medical care (#5), to date, he has not filed an
amended complaint. In addition, his recent mail has been returned to the Court marked as
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff’s claims are dismissed without
IT IS SO ORDERED THIS 30TH DAY OF MARCH, 2015.
/s/Susan Webber Wright
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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