Bailey v. Coffman et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. (See Full Order.) IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to issue process on defendants in their individual capacities. Defendants are employees of the State of Missouri. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's official-capacity claims are DISMISSED. Signed by District Judge E. Richard Webber on 7/24/2015. (CBL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
BRITNEY COFFMAN, et al.,
No. 4:15CV968 ERW
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff, an inmate at Potosi Correctional Center, brings this action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for alleged excessive force and denial of medical treatment. After review under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court finds that service should issue on the complaint but that plaintiff’s
claims against defendants in their official capacities must be dismissed.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court is required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma
pauperis if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
To state a claim for relief under § 1983, 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, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). A plaintiff must
demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.”
Plaintiff brings this action against defendants in their official and individual capacities.
He alleges that on December 23, 2014, defendants Henson, Coffman, and Reed, all of whom are
correctional officers, assaulted him while he was in handcuffs by pushing him into a wall and
onto the ground. He further alleges that when he was placed in his cell, Reed pulled his arm
through the food port with the intention to break it. And, he says that on January 9, 2015,
defendant Brouk sprayed him with pepper spray for no reason while he was in his cell. Plaintiff
claims that both Coffman and Brouk filed false charges against him resulting in his placement in
Plaintiff also claims that defendants did not allow him to receive medical care. He says
that a week after he was placed in administrative segregation he saw the medical unit, and he
claims that he had open lacerations on his legs and open cuts on his arm at that time.
Liberally construed, the complaint states a plausible claim for excessive force under the
Eighth Amendment. See Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 10 (1992) (The unnecessary and
wanton infliction of pain constitutes cruel and unusual punishment forbidden by the Eighth
Amendment.). The complaint also states a plausible claim for deliberate indifference to his
medical needs. See Dulany v. Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 1239 (8th Cir. 1997) (plaintiff must
have suffered objectively serious need and defendants must have deliberately disregarded the
need). Open lacerations after one week appear sufficient to qualify as an objective serious need,
and plaintiff alleges that he told defendants he needed medical treatment but they refused his
Naming a government official in his or her official capacity is the equivalent of naming
the government entity that employs the official, in this case the State of Missouri. Will v.
Michigan Dep=t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). “[N]either a State nor its officials acting
in their official capacity are >persons= under ' 1983.” Id. As a result, the complaint fails to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted against defendants in their official capacities.
For these reasons, the Court will direct the Clerk to issue process on defendants in their
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to issue process on defendants in
their individual capacities. Defendants are employees of the State of Missouri.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff’s official-capacity claims are DISMISSED.
So Ordered this 24th day of July, 2015.
E. RICHARD WEBBER
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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