United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
A, White United States District Judge
a pro se state prisoner who is incarcerated at Davis
Correctional Facility, a private prison in Holdenville,
Oklahoma, has filed this civil rights complaint pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Dkt. 1). He is seeking relief for
alleged constitutional violations at that facility. The
defendants are CoreCivic, Davis Correctional Facility (DCF),
and DCF Nurse Nicole Donnelly. Plaintiff alleges Ms. Donnelly
was responsible for his taking medications intended for his
cellmate, which resulted in injuries to Plaintiff. Plaintiff
has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis
in this action. (Dkt. 4).
courts must engage in a preliminary screening of cases in
which prisoners seek redress from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(a). The Court must identify any cognizable
claims and dismiss any claims which 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); 28 U.S.C. §
pleading standard for all civil actions was articulated in
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007).
See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009). To
avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must present factual
allegations, assumed to be true, that ''raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.''
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The complaint must contain
''enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'' Id. at 570. A court
must accept all the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint
as true, even if doubtful in fact, and must construe the
allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Id. at 555-56. ''So, when the allegations in
a complaint, however true, could not raise a claim of
entitlement to relief, '' the cause of action should
be dismissed. Id. at 558. The Court applies the same
standard of review for dismissals under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) that is employed for Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Kay v.
Bemis, 500 F.3d 1214, 1217-18 (10th Cir. 2007).
se plaintiff's complaint must be broadly construed under
this standard. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
The generous construction to be given to the pro se
litigant's allegations, however, Adoes not relieve the
plaintiff of the burden of alleging sufficient facts on which
a recognized legal claim could be based.'' Hall
v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).
Notwithstanding a pro se plaintiff's various mistakes or
misunderstandings of legal doctrines or procedural
requirements, ''if a court can reasonably read the
pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could
prevail, it should do so . . . .'' Id. A
reviewing court need not accept ''mere conclusions
characterizing pleaded facts.'' Bryson v. City of
Edmond, 905 F.2d 1386, 1390 (10th Cir. 1990).
''While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations,
a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.'' Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (quotations and citations omitted). The court
''will not supply additional factual allegations to
round out a plaintiff's complaint or construct a legal
theory on a plaintiff's behalf.'' Whitney v.
New Mexico, 113 F.3d 1170, 1173-74 (10th Cir. 1997).
CoreCivic owns and operates DCF. See Davis v. GEO Group
Corr., Inc., No. 16-462-HE, 2018 WL 1406588, slip op. at
*1 n.1 (W.D. Okla. Mar. 7, 2018) (unpublished report and
recommendation), adopted by district court, 2018 WL
1404404 (Mar. 20, 2018). See also
A private actor such as CoreCivic, however, cannot be held
liable under' 1983 based solely on the actions of its
employees. Smedley v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 175
Fed.Appx. 943, 946 (10th Cir. 2005) (citing Monell v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978));
see also Phillips v. Tiona, 508 Fed.Appx.
737, 750 (10th Cir. 2013) (collecting' 1983 cases
involving private prisons such as those operated by
CoreCivic); Dubbs v. Head Start, Inc., 336 F.3d
1194, 1216 (10th Cir. 2003) (applying municipal
direct-liability standard in' 1983 suit against private
entity acting under color of state law and discussing
inapplicability of vicarious liability).
state a claim upon which relief may be granted under'
1983 against CoreCivic, Plaintiff must allege: (1) an
official policy or custom of CoreCivic; (2) that caused a
violation of Plaintiff's federal right(s); and (3) that
Awas enacted or maintained with deliberate indifference to an
almost inevitable constitutional injury.''
Schneider v. City of Grand Junction Police
Dep't, 717 F.3d 760, 769 (10th Cir. 2013). Plaintiff
has presented no allegations against CoreCivic, much less any
official policy or custom of CoreCivic that was responsible
for the violation of his constitutional rights. Therefore,
CoreCivic is DISMISSED from this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted.
Davis Correctional Facility
also has named DCF as a defendant. The capacity of an entity
to be sued is determined by the law of the state in which the
federal district court is located. Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(b). Under
Oklahoma law, ''any person, corporation, partnership,
or unincorporated association [has] capacity to . . . be sued
in this state.'' Okla. Stat. tit. 12,' 2017(B).
While the Oklahoma courts have not addressed in a published
opinion the issue of whether a jail or prison has capacity to
be sued, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held in an
unpublished opinion that ''the Creek County Criminal
Justice Center is not a suable entity under
§ 1983." Hinton v.
Dennis, No. 09-5130, 362 Fed.Appx. 904, 907, 2010 WL
257286, at *3, (10th Cir. Jan. 25, 2010) (citing Martinez
v. Winner, 771 F.2d 424, 444 (10th Cir. 1985)).
Therefore, Defendant DCF also is DISMISSED from this action
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted.
CoreCivic and Davis Correctional Facility are DISMISSED from
this action, and the case shall proceed with Nicole Donnelly
as the sole defendant.