United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
RODNEY D. STEPHENS, Plaintiff,
MICHELLE DILLARD, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
A. White United States District Judge
is a pro se state prisoner in the custody of the Oklahoma
Department of Corrections (DOC) who is incarcerated at Jess
Dunn Correctional Center (JDCC) in Taft, Oklahoma. He has
filed this civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, seeking relief for alleged constitutional
violations at his facility (Dkt. 1). The defendants are
Michelle Dillard, JDCC Nurse; Jarrod Roberts, JDCC Medical
Administrator; Cheri Atkinson, DOC Medical Services Manager;
and the DOC.
alleges that on September 19, 2018, he slipped and fell on a
wet floor, injuring his right knee. He complains he has not
received timely and appropriate treatment for the injury and
requests monetary and other relief. After review of the
complaint, the Court finds Plaintiff must file an amended
civil rights complaint on the Court's form, as set forth
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, “does 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).
State of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections
are immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment. The
Eleventh Amendment protects states from damages suits unless
Congress has abrogated sovereign immunity or the state has
waived it. See Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651,
662-63 (1974). Oklahoma has not consented to be sued in
federal court, see Okla. Stat. tit. 51, §
152.1, and § 1983 does not abrogate states'
sovereign immunity, see Will v. Mich. Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989).
is shielded by sovereign immunity, because it is an arm of
the state. See Eastwood v. Dep't of Corr., 846
F.2d 627, 631-32 (10th Cir. 1988). “[T]he Eleventh
Amendment also precludes a federal court from assessing
damages against state officials sued in their official
capacities because such suits are in essence suits against
the state.” Hunt v. Bennett, 17 F.3d 1263,
1267 (10th Cir. 1994) (citation omitted). Therefore, the
Oklahoma Department of Corrections and Defendants Michelle
Dillard, Jarrod Roberts, and Cheri Atkinson in their official
capacities are DISMISSED from this action, based on Eleventh
Amendment immunity. Because the Eleventh Amendment involves
sovereign immunity, the official-capacity claims are
dismissed “without prejudice” rather than
“with prejudice.” Rural Water Sewer &
Solid Waste Mgmt., Dist. No. 1, Logan County, Okla. v.
Guthrie, 654 F.3d 1058, 1069 n.9 (10th Cir. 2011).
Nurse Michelle Dillard
request for relief, Plaintiff asks for revocation of
Defendant Dillard's nursing license. Plaintiff is advised
that this proposed action is not available through a §
1983 civil rights complaint. Therefore, Plaintiff's
amended complaint should not include this request.
twenty-one (21) days of the entry of this Order, Plaintiff
must file an amended complaint on this Court's form. The
amended complaint must set forth the full name of each person
he is suing under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Sutton v.
Utah State Sch. for the Deaf & Blind, 173 F.3d 1226,
1237 (10th Cir. 1999) (holding that “a cause of action
under § 1983 requires a deprivation of a civil right by
a ‘person' acting under color of state law”).
Further, the names in the caption ...