Jones v. Helder et al
OPINION AND ORDER granting 66 Motion to Dismiss; Landon Harris (Name revised from Medical Staff Landon per Order dated 5/23/2017) dismissed without prejudice. Signed by Honorable Timothy L. Brooks on May 26, 2017. (tg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
SHERIFF TIM HELDER; SERGEANT BYRD;
CORPORAL CAUDLE; SERGEANT STANTON;
LANDON HARRIS; ARAMARK CORRECTIONAL
SERVICES, LLC; ARAMARK KITCHEN STAFF
FROM AUGUST 24, 2016,TO OCTOBER 2016;
DEPUTY C. CINK; LIEUTENANT FOSTER;
CORPORAL CARRIER; JESSIE ENGLAND;
TOMMY ROARK; and TINA WEBB
OPINION AND ORDER
This is a civil rights case filed by Plaintiff Ezra Jones, under the provisions of 42
U.S.C. § 1983.
Mr. Jones proceeds in forma pauperis and pro se.
He is currently
incarcerated in the Randall L. Williams Correctional Facility of the Arkansas Department
of Correction . At the time at issue in this case, he was incarcerated at the Washington
County Detention Center ("WCDC"). The case is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. 66) filed by Separate Defendant Landon Harris, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
While Mr. Jones was incarcerated at the WCDC , he alleges that: (1) he was not
provided with a diet in keeping with his religious beliefs; (2) he was not provided with
nutritious and well-balanced meals ; (3) he was not treated with dignity and respect and was
routinely spoken to in a derogatory manner; and (4) he was denied vegetarian meals.
With respect to Defendant Harris, who is a nurse practitioner employed by the entity
that provides medical services to inmates of the WCDC , the original Complaint (Doc. 1)
filed on September 12, 2016 , names Mr. Harris, but does not include any specific factual
allegations concerning him . A Supplement to the Complaint (Doc. 8) was filed on October
5, 2016 , which included more facts in support of Mr. Jones's various causes of action , but
still failed to explain why Mr. Harris was being sued . A second Supplement (Doc. 62) was
filed on February 10, 2017 . In the second Supplement, Mr. Jones "apologize[d] to the
Court for confusing the Defense Lawyers," and then stated:
There is only (1) alegation [sic] against "Landon[.]" He interfered with a
Request clearlly [sic] addressed to RELIGIOUS DIET [and] responded[,]
"You will need to go through religeous [sic] services," and closed the request,
creating further delay.
There is no way to quantify exactly how much his actions attributed to
delays[;] it is[,] however[,] clear that the actions of Landon were wrong .
Id. at 1.
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Rule 8(a) contains the general pleading rules and requires a complaint to present
"a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. " Fed .
R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) . "In order to meet this standard, and survive a motion to dismiss under
Rule 12(b)(6) , 'a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true , to state
a claim for relief that is plausible on its face ."' Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d
585 , 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 , 678 (2009)) .
"The plausibility standard requires a plaintiff to show at the pleading stage that
success on the merits is more than a 'sheer possibility."' Braden, 588 F.3d at 594 (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678) . The standard does "not impose a probability requirement at the
pleading stage; it simply calls for enough fact to raise a reasonable expectation ," or
reasonable inference, that the "defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged ." Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678 ; see also Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912 , 914 (8th Cir. 2004) (finding that wh ile
prose complaints are liberally construed , they must still allege sufficient facts to support
Section 1983 provides a federal cause of action for the deprivation , under color of
law, of a citizen's "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws"
of the United States. In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that the defendant acted under color of state law and that he violated a right secured
by the Constitution . West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42 (1988); Dunham v. Wadley, 195 F.3d
1007, 1009 (8th Cir. 1999). The deprivation must be intentional; mere negligence will not
suffice to state a claim for deprivation of a constitutional right under§ 1983. Daniels v.
Williams , 474 U.S. 327 (1986) ; Davidson v. Cannon , 474 U.S. 344 (1986).
Here, reading Mr. Jones's allegations against Mr. Harris as generously as possible ,
they do not state a plausible claim for relief. At most, Mr. Jones contends that Mr. Harris
negligently responded to his request concerning a "religious diet" by directing him to resubmit the request to a different department within the WCDC . Even if this act was
negligent, negligence does not rise to the level of conduct that states a claim under§ 1983.
See, e.g., Myers v. Morris, 810 F.2d 1437 (8th Cir. 1987) (citing Davidson , 474 U.S. at 348;
Daniels, 474 U.S. at 330-31) .
For this reason , the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 66) filed by Separate Defendant
Landon Harris is GRANTED, and all claims against him are DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted . Fed . R. Civ.
IT IS SO ORDERED on this
--2/l:._ day of May,
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