Juarez v. Dakota County Jail Staff et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER that Juarez must file an amended complaint within 30 days that states plausible claims for relief against specific defendants. Failure to do so will result in the court dismissing this case without further notice. The clerk of th e court is directed to send to Juarez a blank civil complaint form. To avoid confusion, any document Juarez sends to the clerk of the court for filing in this case must clearly display the case number. The clerk of the court is directed to set a pro se case management deadline: November 24, 2015: check for amended complaint; dismiss case if none filed. Ordered by Judge John M. Gerrard. (Copies mailed as directed) (LAC)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
JULIO JUAREZ, SR.,
DAKOTA COUNTY JAIL STAFF,
DAKOTA COUNTY NURSING
STAFF, and MERCY MEDICAL
Plaintiff Julio Juarez filed his Complaint (Filing No. 1) on May 28, 2015. The
court has given Juarez leave to proceed in forma pauperis in this case. The court now
conducts a pre-service screening of Juarez’s Complaint to determine whether
summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
Juarez is currently incarcerated at the Omaha Correctional Center in Omaha,
Nebraska. (Docket Sheet.) His claims are based on incidents that occurred while he
was incarcerated at the Dakota County Jail in Dakota City, Nebraska. He named as
the defendants Dakota County Jail and nursing staff and Mercy Medical Center.
(Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 1.)
Juarez alleged that on March 22, 2015, he fell down stairs while incarcerated
at the Dakota County Jail and injured his back, shoulder, and neck. Before
paramedics arrived to transport Juarez to Mercy Medical Center, “the night shift staff
were moving and shifting [his] body around, which caused a lot more pain in [his] left
shoulder and back.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 2.)
When Juarez returned to the Dakota County Jail, jail staff forced him to sleep
on the top bunk for over two months. After numerous requests and grievances, Juarez
was examined by a doctor on May 21, 2015, who determined Juarez should sleep on
the bottom bunk. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 3.)
Juarez claims he is in constant pain and suffers from severe migraines, but he
is afraid to ask jail and nursing staff for “help” because they are angry with him and
have “harassed” him in response to a grievance he filed. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p.
3.) Juarez also claims he submitted numerous grievances to jail staff and only one has
been answered. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 3.)
For relief, Juarez seeks money damages and for the court to order the
defendants to provide him with medical attention, including physical therapy. (Filing
No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 5.)
II. STANDARDS ON INITIAL REVIEW
The court is required to review prisoner and in forma pauperis complaints
seeking relief against a governmental entity or an officer or employee of a
governmental entity to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate. See 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A. The court must dismiss a complaint or any portion of
it that states a frivolous or malicious claim, that fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, or that seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
Pro se plaintiffs must set forth enough factual allegations to “nudge their
claims across the line from conceivable to plausible,” or “their complaint must be
dismissed.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 569-70 (2007); see also
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“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.”).
“The essential function of a complaint under the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure is to give the opposing party ‘fair notice of the nature and basis or grounds
for a claim, and a general indication of the type of litigation involved.’” Topchian v.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 760 F.3d 843, 848 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Hopkins v.
Saunders, 199 F.3d 968, 973 (8th Cir. 1999)). However, “[a] pro se complaint must
be liberally construed, and pro se litigants are held to a lesser pleading standard than
other parties.” Topchian, 760 F.3d at 849 (internal quotation marks and citations
Liberally construed, Plaintiff here alleges federal constitutional claims. To state
a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege a violation of rights protected
by the United States Constitution or created by federal statute and also must show that
the alleged deprivation was caused by conduct of a person acting under color of state
law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Buckley v. Barlow, 997 F.2d 494, 495
(8th Cir. 1993).
Juarez alleged he continues to suffer from migraines and pain as a result of an
injury he suffered at the Dakota County Jail on March 22, 2015. He is afraid to ask
for “help” from jail and nursing staff because they “have been angered” and “have
harassed” him because of a grievance he filed. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 3.) Juarez
did not identify who harassed him, how he was harassed, or how his medical needs
are being neglected. In short, even when liberally construed, Juarez’s Complaint
raises no claims against any defendant. On the court’s own motion, Juarez will have
30 days in which to file an amended complaint that states plausible claims for relief.
Juarez should be mindful to identify the defendants and explain what each defendant
did to him, when the defendant did it, how the defendant’s actions harmed him, and
what specific legal right Juarez believes the defendant violated.
In drafting his amended complaint, Juarez should note that, to prevail on an
Eighth Amendment claim, a plaintiff must prove that the defendants acted with
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 106 (1976). The deliberate indifference standard includes both an objective and
a subjective component. This means Juarez must demonstrate that (1) he suffered
from objectively serious medical needs, and (2) the defendants knew of, but
deliberately disregarded, those needs. See Jolly v. Knudsen, 205 F.3d 1094, 1096 (8th
Cir. 2000) (quoting Dulany v. Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 1239 (8th Cir.1997)).
In addition, Juarez should note that, to establish a § 1983 claim for retaliation
in violation of the First Amendment, a plaintiff must allege (1) that he engaged in a
protected activity, (2) that the defendants responded with adverse action that would
“chill a person of ordinary firmness” from continuing in the activity, and (3) that “the
adverse action was motivated at least in part by the exercise of the protected activity.”
Revels v. Vincenz, 382 F.3d 870, 876 (8th Cir. 2004).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
Juarez must file an amended complaint within 30 days that states
plausible claims for relief against specific defendants. Failure to do so will result in
the court dismissing this case without further notice.
The clerk of the court is directed to send to Juarez a blank civil complaint
form. To avoid confusion, any document Juarez sends to the clerk of the court for
filing in this case must clearly display the case number.
The clerk of the court is directed to set a pro se case management
deadline: November 24, 2015: check for amended complaint; dismiss case if none
DATED this 22nd day of October, 2015.
BY THE COURT:
s/ John M. Gerrard
United States District Judge
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