United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
M. PURCELL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a state pre-trial detainee appearing pro se and
in forma pauperis, brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. The matter has been referred to the
undersigned Magistrate Judge for initial proceedings
consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). Having
reviewed the sufficiency of the Complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A and 1915(e)(2)(B), the undersigned
recommends Plaintiff's action be dismissed.
a state pre-trial detainee currently incarcerated in Garfield
County Detention Facility (“GCDF”), initiated
this action on September 28, 2018. Doc. No. 1
(“Comp”). In his Complaint, Plaintiff asserts two
Eighth Amendment claims. First, he alleges he has received
inadequate medical care because one of his eyeballs was
scratched and the nurse refused to see him and/or he was not
provided anything to clean his contacts. Id. at 6-7.
Second, Plaintiff complains that he has not been provided
regular access to cleaning supplies. Id. at 7-8.
Plaintiff names as Defendants the GCDF, the Garfield County
Sheriff's Office, as well as Pam and Mary, both of whom
he indicates are medical personnel at GCDF. Id. at
Screening of Prisoner Complaints
federal district court must review complaints filed by
prisoners seeking relief against a governmental entity or an
officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). After conducting an initial review, the
court must dismiss a complaint or any portion of it
presenting claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seek
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). In conducting this review,
the reviewing court must accept the plaintiff's
allegations as true and construe them, and any reasonable
inferences to be drawn from the allegations, in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. Kay v. Bemis, 500
F.3d 1214, 1217 (10th Cir. 2007). Although a pro se
litigant's pleadings are liberally construed, Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), “[t]he burden
is on the plaintiff to frame a ‘complaint with enough
factual matter (taken as true) to suggest' that he or she
is entitled to relief.” Robbins v. Oklahoma,
519 F.3d 1242, 1247-48 (10th Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). The
allegations in a complaint must present “enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Further, a
claim is frivolous “where it lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact” or is “based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 327 (1989).
GCDF & Garfield County Sheriff's Office
asserts both Eighth Amendment claims against GCDF and the
Garfield County Sheriff's Office. Comp. at 6, 7. However,
neither a county jail nor a sheriff's office, as
subdivisions of the county in which they are located, has a
separate legal identity under Oklahoma law. Thus, the GCDF
and the Garfield Sheriff's Office cannot be sued in this
Court and any claims against them should be dismissed with
prejudice. Lindsey v. Thomson, No. 06-7114, 2007 WL
2693970, at *3 (10th Cir. Sept. 10, 2007) (affirming
dismissal of § 1983 claims against police departments
and county sheriff's department because they are entities
with no apparent legal existence); White v. Utah,
No. 00-4109, 2001 WL 201980, at *1 (10th Cir. March 1, 2001)
(affirming dismissal of county jail; although applicable
state law provided that county may sue or be sued, no state
law supported directing a cause of action directly against a
county's subdivisions, including its jails); Aston v.
Cunningham, No. 99-4156, 2000 WL 796086, at *4 n.3 (10th
Cir. June 21, 2000) (affirming dismissal of county jail as
defendant in prisoner's § 1983 action on basis that
“a detention facility is not a person or legally
created entity capable of being sued”); Reid v.
Hamby, No. 95-7142, 1997 WL 537909, at * 6 (10th Cir.
Sept. 2, 1997) (holding that “an Oklahoma
‘sheriff's department' is not a proper entity
for purposes of a § 1983 suit”).
Eighth Amendment Claims
Inadequate medical care
state a cognizable Eighth Amendment claim of denial of
medical care, “a prisoner must allege acts or omissions
sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). The objective component requires the
deprivation be sufficiently serious; and the subjective
component requires the officials act with a sufficiently
culpable state of mind. Miller v. Glanz, 948 F.2d
1562, 1569 (10th Cir. 1991); Martinez v. Garden, 430
F.3d 1302, 1304 (10th Cir. 2005). To satisfy the objective
component, the inmate must show the presence of a
“serious medical need, ” that is, a
“serious illness or injury.” Estelle,
429 U.S. at 104, 105; Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 834 (1994). For this analysis, the relevant question is
“whether the alleged harm . . . is sufficiently
serious, ” not “whether the symptoms displayed to
the prison employee are sufficiently serious.” Mata
v. Saiz, 427 F.3d 745, 753 (10th Cir. 2005). To satisfy
the subjective component, the inmate must show that the
prison official was both “aware of facts from which the
inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious
harm” existed, and he drew that inference.
Martinez, 430 F.3d at 1305 (citing Riddle v.
Mondragon, 83 F.3d 1197, 1204 (10th Cir. 1996)
construing Plaintiff's Complaint liberally, his
allegations do not support a finding that he had a serious
medical need for purposes of the Eighth Amendment's
objective component. Plaintiff indicates that he scratched
his eyeball and that an unidentified individual refused his
request for a means to clean his contact lenses. Comp. at 7.
Discomfort from a scratched eye and an inability to clean
contact lenses are not so grave as to cross the de
minimis threshold of a serious medical condition.
See Mata, 427 F.3d at 753 (noting that the objective
component of an Eighth Amendment claim is met only when the
underlying condition and/or harm caused by the same is
sufficiently serious); see also, cf., Canell v. Multnomah
Cty., 141 F.Supp.2d 1046, 1057 (D. Or. 2001) (noting
that severe eye injuries or legal blindness may
constitute a serious medical need). Thus, Plaintiff's
Eighth Amendment claim based on an alleged denial of medical
care related to a scratched eye and contact lens cleaner
should be dismissed.
second claim, Plaintiff complains that he has not been
allowed the opportunity to clean his cell more than one time
in four weeks, putting him at risk of illness and infection.
Comp. at 8. Plaintiff does not ...