Reynolds v. Russell et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to serve process on defendants Ronald Helms, Unknown Byington (Correctional Officer), and James Rodgers in accordance with the Courts agreement with the Missouri Department of Corrections. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to serve process on defendant Rachel Roessler in accordance with the Courts agreement with Corizon, Inc. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendant Harry Russell is DISMISSED without prejudice. An Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed separately. Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 4/7/16. (KJS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
KENNETH DA’VON REYNOLDS,
HARRY RUSSELL, et al.,
No. 4:16CV149 JCH
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on review of plaintiff’s amended complaint under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e). After reviewing the complaint, the Court finds that it should be partially
Standard of Review
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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
A plaintiff must
demonstrate a plausible claim for relief, which is more than a “mere possibility of misconduct.”
Id. at 679. “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.” Id. at 678. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense. Id. at 679.
Plaintiff brings this action against several officials at the Eastern Reception Diagnostic
and Correctional Center (“ERDCC”). He alleges that defendant Ronald Helms slammed his
head into a wall while he was applying restraints. He also alleges that Helms forced him to the
floor and punched him several times. He says that defendant James Rogers helped Helms hold
him down during the use of force. And he claims that defendant Unknown Byington was present
at the scene and did not protect him. Plaintiff claims that he was not disobeying orders when he
Plaintiff states that defendant Rachael Roessler, who is a nurse, cleaned his injuries and
took a blood sample. He says she did not, however, treat his lacerations or assess his head
injury. He also claims that she did not record his injuries in his medical records. Her records
indicated that he had no injuries and refused to cooperate.
Plaintiff seeks to hold defendant Harry Russell liable because he was the Warden at
ERDCC at that time.
The complaint states a plausible claim against defendants Helms, Rogers, and Byington
in their individual capacities for excessive force and failure to protect. The Court also finds that
plaintiff’s deliberate indifference claim against Roessler should not be dismissed at this time. As
a result, the Court will order the Clerk to serve these defendants with process.
Plaintiff’s official-capacity claims against defendants are barred by sovereign immunity.
See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165-66 (1985); Murphy v. Arkansas, 127 F.3d 750, 754
(8th Cir. 1997). Therefore, the official-capacity claims are dismissed.
Finally, the complaint fails to state a claim against Russell. See Camberos v. Branstad,
73 F.3d 174, 176 (8th Cir. 1995) (“a general responsibility for supervising the operations of a
prison is insufficient to establish the personal involvement required to support liability.”).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to serve process on defendants
Ronald Helms, Unknown Byington (Correctional Officer), and James Rodgers in accordance
with the Court’s agreement with the Missouri Department of Corrections.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk is directed to serve process on defendant
Rachel Roessler in accordance with the Court’s agreement with Corizon, Inc.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendant Harry Russell is DISMISSED without
An Order of Partial Dismissal will be filed separately.
day of April, 2016.
\s\ Jean C. Hamilton
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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