United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
ERWIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Kentrell Williams, a state prisoner appearing pro se
and in forma pauperis, brings this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging various violations of his
constitutional rights. (ECF No. 1). United States District
Judge Robin J. Cauthron has referred this matter to the
undersigned magistrate judge for initial proceedings
consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)-(C). A review
of the complaint has been conducted pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Based on
that review, the Court should: (1) dismiss, with prejudice,
the official capacity claims against Defendants Hininger,
Hall, Plural, Battles, and Rashti; (2) dismiss, without
prejudice, the individual capacity claims against Defendants
Hall, Miller, Lite, Beaming, Thompson, Hininger, and Plural;
and (3) dismiss, without prejudice, the claims against
Defendant Core Civic.
Court must review each complaint in which a prisoner seeks
redress against a governmental entity, officer, or employee.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court likewise must review
each case brought by a prisoner with respect to prison
conditions and each case in which a plaintiff proceeds in
forma pauperis. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1); 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2). The Court is required to dismiss the
complaint or any portion of the complaint that is frivolous
or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1915A(b), 1915(e)(2)(B); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court must accept Plaintiff's allegations as true and
construe them, and any reasonable inferences to be drawn from
them, in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. See Kay
v. Bemis, 500 F.3d 1214, 1217 (10th Cir. 2007). Since
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, his complaint must
be construed liberally. See id. at 1218. The Court
“review[s] the complaint for plausibility; that is, to
determine whether the complaint includes enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Young v. Davis, 554 F.3d 1254, 1256 (10th Cir. 2009)
(quotations and citation omitted).
complaint fails to state such a claim when it lacks factual
allegations sufficient “to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in
fact).” Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (footnote and citation omitted). Bare legal
conclusions in a complaint, however, are not assumed to be
true; legal conclusions “must be supported by factual
allegations” to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679
pro se plaintiff requires no special legal training to
recount the facts surrounding his alleged injury, and he must
provide such facts if the court is to determine whether he
makes out a claim on which relief can be granted.”
Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir.
1991); see also Whitney v. New Mexico, 113 F.3d
1170, 1173-74 (10th Cir. 1997) (noting that although courts
construe pro se pleadings liberally, courts
“will not supply additional factual allegations to
round out a plaintiff's complaint”). Whether a
complaint contains sufficient facts to avoid dismissal is
context-specific and is determined through a court's
application of “judicial experience and common
sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see also
Gee v. Pacheco, 627 F.3d 1178, 1184-85 (10th Cir. 2010)
NAMED DEFENDANTS AND PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS
Williams is incarcerated at Cimarron Correctional Facility
(CCF) and has alleged various constitutional violations in
connection with his incarceration. (ECF No. 1). As
Defendants, Plaintiff names: (1) Damon Hininger, CEO of Core
Civic, the company which operates CCF; (2) Core Civic;
(3) Lieutenant Hall, employee of CCF; (4) Sergeant Plural,
employee of CCF; (5) Mrs. Miller, Case Manager at CCF; (6)
Mr. Battles, Unit Manager at CCF; (7) CC Lite, Case Counselor
at CCF; (8) Ms. Beaming, mental health physician at CCF; (9)
Ms. Rashti, Health Services Administrator at CCF; and (10)
Victoria Thompson, Case Manager at CCF. (ECF No. 1:2-4). Mr.
Williams seeks damages: (1) against Defendants Hininger,
Hall, and Plural in both their official and individual
capacities; (2) against Defendants Core Civic, Battles, and
Rashti, in their official capacities only; and (3) against
Defendants Miller, Lite, Beaming, and Thompson in their
individual capacities only. (ECF No. 1:2-4).
Complaint, Mr. Williams alleges that Defendants violated his
Eighth Amendment rights by denying him:
• mental health treatment and medications;
• hygiene supplies;
• indigent postage;
• a single lunch tray; and
• cold water from his sink.
(ECF Nos. 1:5-9; 1-1; 1-3; 1-4; 1-5; 1-6).
DISMISSAL OF OFFICIAL CAPACITY CLAIMS
stated, Plaintiff raises official capacity claims against
Defendants Hininger, Hall, Plural, Battles, and Rashti. (ECF
No. 1:2-4). But as employees of a private prison, these
Defendants are not state officials, and official capacity
claims cannot be asserted against them. See Jones v.
Barry, 33 Fed.Appx. 967, 971, n.5 (10th Cir. 2002)
(“the CCA defendants are not state actors, and they do
not have an “official capacity.”); Alamiin v.
Patton, No. CIV-13-1001-F, 2016 WL 7217857, at *6 (W.D.
Okla. Dec. 13, 2016) (“As employees of a private
prison, they are not state officials, and official capacity
claims cannot be asserted against them.”). Thus, the
Court should dismiss the official capacity claims against
Defendants Hininger, Hall, Plural, Battles, and Rashti with
prejudice. See Miskam v. Sherrod, No.
CIV-14-0646-HE, 2015 WL 4717105, at *3 (W.D. Okla. Aug. 7,
2015) (dismissing official capacity claims against private
prison employees with prejudice).
DISMISSAL OF INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANTS
HALL, BEAMING, LITE, MILLER, AND THOMPSON
Williams has alleged individual capacity claims against
Defendants Hall, Miller, Lite, Beaming, and Thompson. (ECF
No. 1:3-4) Specifically, Plaintiff has alleged that these
Defendants have violated the Eighth Amendment by: (1)
exhibiting deliberate indifference to his medical needs and
(2) subjecting him to unconstitutional conditions of
confinement. The Court should dismiss these claims without
General Requisites to State a Claim under 42 U.S.C. §
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
sufficiently plead personal involvement, causation, and state
of mind. Schneider v. City of Grand Junction Police
Dept., 717 F.3d 760, 767 (10th Cir. 2013). Also,
liability in a supervisory capacity may be found if a
plaintiff demonstrates that any defendant: (1) promulgated,
created, implemented, or possessed responsibility for the
continued operation of a policy that (2) caused the
complained of constitutional harm and (3) acted with the
state of mind required to establish the alleged
constitutional deprivation. Dodds v. Richardson, 614
F.3d 1185, 1199 (10th Cir. 2010). To prove liability in a
supervisory capacity, the plaintiff must also identify the
specific policies over which the defendants possessed
responsibility that led to the alleged constitutional
deprivation. Pahls v. Thomas, 718 F.3d 1210, 1226
(10th Cir. 2013).
Specific Requisites to State an Eighth Amendment Claim-Denial
of Medical Care and Conditions of Confinement
Constitution, through the Eighth Amendment, imposes on state
governments an “obligation to provide medical care for
those whom [they are] punishing by incarceration. An inmate
must rely on prison authorities to treat his medical needs;
if they fail to do so, those needs will not be met.”
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103 (1976). However,
“[b]ecause society does not expect that prisoners will
have unqualified access to health care, ” Hudson v.
McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992), an inmate cannot hold a
prison official liable unless the inmate shows that he or she
suffered “acts or omissions sufficiently harmful to
evidence deliberate indifference to [the inmate's]
serious medical needs, ” Gamble, 429 U.S. at
106. “It is only such indifference that can offend
‘evolving standards of decency' in violation of the
Eighth Amendment.” Gamble, 429 U.S. at 106.
Additionally, the Eighth Amendment “does not mandate
comfortable prisons, ” ...