Owen v. Lisenbe et al
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion to reconsider the Order of Partial Dismissal is DENIED. [ECF No. 20 ] Signed by District Judge Henry Edward Autrey on 11/30/17. (JAB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
RONNIE LEE OWEN,
RICHARD LISENBE, et al.,
No. 4:17CV1547 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on plaintiff=s motion to reconsider the partial dismissal of
this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
For the following reasons, the motion will be denied.
Plaintiff, an inmate at Phelps County Jail, brought his complaint against Richard Lisenbe,
Sheriff of Phelps County, Missouri; and Matt Shults, Lieutenant and Jail Administrator of the
Phelps County Jail pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleged that the overcrowding at the
Phelps County Jail has deprived him of essential food, sanitation, and has increased violence
among himself and other inmates. He also alleged the lack of recreation facilities, due to
overcrowding, has deprived him of all exercise, direct sunlight, and fresh air for more than a year.
Plaintiff also alleged that because of the overcrowding, the Phelps County Jail does not have the
staff to inspect the mail, and therefore inmates do not always receive their mail.
On initial review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court found that plaintiff’s
individual-capacity claims against Lieutenant Matt Shults were not frivolous, and the Court
directed the Clerk to issue process upon the complaint. The Court, however, dismissed plaintiff’s
allegations against Sheriff Lisenbe because plaintiff did not allege that Sheriff Lisenbe was
causally linked to, or bore any personal responsibility for, the lack of sanitary conditions, lack of
recreation, deprivation of food, or the increased violence in the jail. Additionally, the Court
dismissed all plaintiff’s official-capacity claims, because he had not alleged a specific policy or
custom of a government entity was responsible for the alleged constitutional violations. See ECF
In his motion to reconsider, plaintiff states that Sheriff Lisenbe “has a direct responsibility
[for] the health, safety, and welfare of plaintiff, he does delegate such responsibility to Lieutenant
Shults, which gives BOTH the equal responsibility, but also means that Sheriff Lisenbe has the
added responsibility to oversee Lt. Matt Shults.” As the Court stated in its Memorandum and
Order dated October 17, 2017, “[c]laims sounding in respondeat superior are not cognizable under
1983.” Boyd v. Knox, 47 F.3d 966, 968 (8th Cir. 1995). Plaintiff’s motion to reconsider
expressly states that Sheriff Lisenbe delegates responsibility of the Phelps County Jail to Matt
Shults, the Jail Administrator.
Plaintiff has not alleged that Sheriff Lisenbe was directly
responsible for the deprivation of his rights. As a result, the complaint fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted against defendant Lisenbe, and the Court will deny plaintiff’s motion
Plaintiff also seeks to have his official-capacity claims reinstated. In his motion to
reconsider, plaintiff does not allege any facts from which the Court could find that a specific policy
or custom of a government entity is responsible for his alleged constitutional violations.
For these reasons, plaintiff=s motion for reconsideration will be denied.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff=s motion to reconsider the Order of Partial
Dismissal is DENIED. [ECF No. 20]
Dated this 30th day of November, 2017
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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