United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. KOPF SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
filed a Complaint on December 8, 2017. (Filing No.
1-1.) He has been given leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. (Filing No. 7.) The court now conducts an
initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint to determine
whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e) and 1915A.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
is a prisoner currently confined at the Omaha Correctional
Center. He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against Lancaster County Jail and Unknown John and Jane
Doe Defendants in their official capacities for violations of
his Eighth Amendment rights. (Filing No. 1-1.)
alleges that on December 25, 2014, he was a pretrial detainee
confined at the Lancaster County Jail. (Id. at
CM/ECF p.7.) On that date, Plaintiff was attacked and beaten
by another inmate as Plaintiff and other inmates were
returning inside to the day room from an outer yard. The
attack occurred in full view of the jail security staff's
desk, but Plaintiff alleges security did not intervene to
come to his defense for at least fifteen minutes while the
inmate punched Plaintiff and beat his head on the concrete
floor. Plaintiff alleges he tried to shield his face with his
arms but received a blow to his right eye that rendered him
momentarily unconscious. When Plaintiff regained his senses,
back up security had just arrived. The other inmate was
charged for the attack on Plaintiff. (Id. at CM/ECF
the attack, Plaintiff was escorted to medical where he was
given an ice pack, some type of pain reliever, and some gauze
for his bleeding nose. Plaintiff alleges that he suffered
from migraines, dizziness, and loss of balance every time he
stood up, pain in his eye, and constant bleeding from his
nose and down his throat. After Plaintiff wrote several
“kites” to medical, he was placed in the
infirmary for hourly checks and was seen by the doctor only
on the first and last day of his stay. (Id. at
CM/ECF p.16.) Plaintiff alleges no x-rays were performed and
medical staff never treated or found any solution to his
issues. (Id. at CM/ECF pp.13, 16.) Plaintiff bonded
out of jail eleven days after the attack on January 5, 2015.
Plaintiff alleges that he cannot recall for certain if he
filed a grievance before he bonded out due to his injuries,
but he believes he did and did not receive a response.
(Id. at CM/ECF p.9.)
Plaintiff left Lancaster County Jail, he visited Bryan LGH
West and learned that he had a fractured right eye socket and
has since been diagnosed with tendinosis and a labral tear in
his left shoulder. Plaintiff continues to suffer vision
problems related to his eye injury and is currently seeking
treatment for his tendinosis and shoulder injuries. Plaintiff
seeks $1, 000, 000 in damages for his medical expenses, pain
and suffering, “PTSD from this incident, ” and
life-long vision disability. (Id. at CM/ECF p.5.)
APPLICABLE STANDARDS OF REVIEW
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).
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.”).
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 omitted).
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).
sues Lancaster County Jail and the Unknown John and Jane Doe
medical and security jail staff for failing to protect him
and for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs
in violation of the Eighth Amendment. As an initial matter,
Lancaster County Jail is not a distinct legal entity subject
to suit. SeeDan v. Douglas Cty. Dep't of
Corr., No. 8:06CV714, 2009 WL 483837, at *4 (D. Neb.
Feb. 25, 2009) (“the Department of Corrections and
other units within the DCCC and Douglas County lack the legal
capacity to sue or be sued in their own names”);
see also Owens v. Scott Cty. Jail, 328 F.3d ...