United States District Court, D. Nebraska
BRAD L. MARTIN, Plaintiff,
STATE OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL DEPARTMENT LANCASTER COUNTY ADULT DETENTION FACILITY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RICHARD G. KOPF SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a pretrial detainee being held at the Lancaster County Jail,
brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action asserting a
Fourteenth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs. Plaintiff has been given leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. (Filing No. 8.) The court now
conducts an initial review of the Complaint (Filing No. 1) to
determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
alleges that he was arrested and taken to jail shortly after
he was in a car accident. When he entered jail, he was
suffering “extreme pain in left arm and shoulder with
numb hand and fingers.” (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 5
(capitalization and spelling corrected).) Plaintiff states
that it took jail staff 19 days to diagnose and treat his
broken neck despite his continual complaints that he was
experiencing numbness and pain in his shoulder. Plaintiff
sues the “State of Nebraska Medical Department
Lancaster County Adult Detention Facility” for money
damages, and he admits he did not file a grievance
complaining about his situation.
STANDARDS ON INITIAL 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 a federal constitutional
claim. 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).
unclear whether the “State of Nebraska Medical
Department Lancaster County Adult Detention Facility”
is one defendant, or whether Plaintiff intended to sue the
“State of Nebraska Medical Department” separately
from the “Lancaster County Adult Detention
Facility.” The court shall construe them as separate
defendants since one is labeled as a state entity, and the
other as a county entity.
a party has the capacity to be sued is determined “by
the law of the state where the court is located.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(b)(3). Under Nebraska law, each county in
Nebraska may sue and be sued in its own name, Neb. Rev. Stat.
§ 23-101 (Westlaw 2018), but the same is not true of
county offices or departments. Parsons v. McCann,
138 F.Supp.3d 1086, 1097 (D. Neb. 2015) (collecting cases).
Further, it is clear that “county jails are not legal
entities amenable to suit” under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Owens v. Scott County Jail, 328 F.3d 1026, 1026 (8th
Cir. 2003); see also Williams v. Pulaski Cty. Det.
Facility, 278 Fed.Appx. 695 (8th Cir. 2008)
(unpublished) (county detention center not subject to suit
under § 1983); De La Garza v. Kandiyohi Cty. Jail,
Corr. Inst., 18 Fed.Appx. 436, 437 (8th Cir. 2001)
(unpublished) (§ 1983 action against county jail and
county sheriff's department dismissed without prejudice
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A because parties were not suable
entities). Therefore, the Lancaster County Adult Detention
Facility is not a proper defendant, and Plaintiff's claim
against the facility must be dismissed for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.
the court is unaware of an entity known as the “State
of Nebraska Medical Department, ” states or
governmental entities that are considered arms of the state
are not suable “persons” within the meaning of 42
U.S.C. § 1983, Will v. Michigan Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 70 (1989), and suits for money
damages against the state or its agencies are barred by the
Eleventh Amendment. Monroe v. Ark. State Univ., 495
F.3d 591, 594 (8th Cir. 2007) (Eleventh Amendment bars suit
against state agency for any kind of relief); Nix v.
Norman, 879 F.2d 429, 431-32 (8th Cir.1989) (suit
brought solely against state or state agency is proscribed by
Eleventh Amendment); see also Brown v. Arkansas Dep't
of Human Servs., 452 Fed.Appx. 690, 693 (8th Cir. 2011)