United States District Court, D. Kansas
BRETT F. HOGAN, Plaintiff,
MARSHALL COUNTY, KANSAS, BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CROW U.S. SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this action during his pretrial detention at the
Marshall County Confinement Center in Marysville, Kansas
(“MCCC”). Plaintiff commenced this action in the
District Court of Marshall County, Kansas, and the matter was
removed to this Court on January 24, 2019. This matter is
before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and/or
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 8). Plaintiff has
also filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 15). Plaintiff asks the
Court to “dismiss the Petition of Habeas Corpus and . .
. not view this as a complaint.” (Doc. 15, at 3.)
Defendants filed a response (Doc. 16) to Plaintiff's
motion to dismiss, noting that Plaintiff removed his request
for monetary damages in his Amended Petition, thereby leaving
a request for injunctive relief only. Because Plaintiff is no
longer detained at the MCCC, Defendants assert that Plaintiff
lacks standing to seek injunctive relief. Defendants state
that they are not opposed to Plaintiff's motion to
dismiss, provided that the dismissal is with prejudice.
original pleading was titled “Writ of Habeas Corpus in
Regard to Custody.” (Doc. 4-1.) Plaintiff alleges that
during his detention he was subjected to cruel and unusual
punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff
alleges that the facility had inadequate seating that
“causes unwanted pain to lower back, hemorrhoids, bad
posture, and physical lower body pain.” (Doc. 4-1, at
2.) Plaintiff also alleges “uncivilized prolonged
isolation from the sun, ” negligence in failing to set
up therapy for seasonal affective disorder, and the lack of a
chow hall. Plaintiff also alleges that the current policy to
safeguard the Fourth Amendment regarding strip searches is
per se unconstitutional. Plaintiff does not describe the
strip search policy, or allege that he has been subjected to
any strip search. Plaintiff also alleges the inadequate
medical treatment of inmates due to “the long standing
of failure to establish a client-professional
relationship” and the failure to “afford any
extending testing, preventative medicine practices.”
(Doc. 4-1 at 13.) Plaintiff seeks relief in the form of
“adequate housing, sunlight, proper seating, fruit, a
proper strip search protocol, and proper mental health care
to KSAS, Constitution, and $2, 000 per offense civil
penalties.” Id. at 4. On February 14, 2019,
Plaintiff filed an “Amended Writ of Habeas Corpus in
Regard to Custody” (Doc. 10), in which he removes his
request for “$2, 000 per offense civil penalties,
” and adds a claim regarding the lack of fruit in the
meals at MCCC. Plaintiff names as Defendants: the Marshall
County, Kansas, Board of County Commissioners; Timothy
Anderson, Jail Administrator; and Daniel Hargrave, Sheriff.
Standard of Review
Court must construe pro se filings liberally. See Garrett
v. Selby Connor Maddux & Janer, 425 F.3d 836, 840
(10th Cir. 2005) (citing Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d
1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991)). The Court does not, however,
“take on the responsibility of serving as the
litigant's attorney in constructing arguments and
searching the record.” Id. Moreover,
“pro se parties [must] follow the same rules of
procedure that govern other litigants.” Id.
may dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). In order to withstand a motion to dismiss
for failure to state a claim, a complaint must contain enough
allegations of fact to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face. Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d
1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007)). All
well-pleaded facts and the reasonable inferences derived from
those facts are viewed in the light most favorable to
plaintiff. Archuleta v. Wagner, 523 F.3d 1278, 1283
(10th Cir. 2008). Conclusory allegations, however, have no
bearing upon the court's consideration. Shero v. City
of Grove, Okla., 510 F.3d 1196, 1200 (10th Cir. 2007).
Eighth Amendment claims Plaintiff attempts to raise are
general complaints about the conditions of his confinement.
Plaintiff's claims regarding the type of seating
provided, the lack of sunlight, the lack of fruit, the lack
of therapy for SAD, and the inadequate chow hall, are all
complaints about the restrictions and conditions at MCCC.
Plaintiff alleges that these jail conditions are a form of
punishment constituting cruel and unusual punishment in
violation of the Eighth Amendment.
prison official violates the Eighth Amendment when two
requirements are met. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 834 (1994). “First, the deprivation alleged must
be, objectively, ‘sufficiently serious.'”
Id. To satisfy the objective component, a prisoner
must allege facts showing he or she is “incarcerated
under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious
harm.” Id.; Martinez v. Garden, 430
F.3d 1302, 1304 (10th Cir. 2005). The Eighth Amendment
requires prison and jail officials to provide humane
conditions of confinement guided by “contemporary
standards of decency.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 103 (1976). The Supreme Court has acknowledged that
the Constitution “‘does not mandate comfortable
prisons,' and only those deprivations denying ‘the
minimal civilized measure of life's necessities' are
sufficiently grave to form the basis of an Eighth Amendment
violation.” Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294,
298 (1991) (internal citations omitted). Indeed, prison
conditions may be “restrictive and even harsh.”
Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981).
“Under the Eighth Amendment, (prison) officials must
provide humane conditions of confinement by ensuring inmates
receive the basic necessities of adequate food, clothing,
shelter, and medical care and by taking reasonable measures
to guarantee the inmates' safety.” McBride v.
Deer, 240 F.3d 1287, 1291 (10th Cir. 2001) (citation
second requirement for an Eighth Amendment violation
“follows from the principle that ‘only the
unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain implicates the
Eighth Amendment.'” Farmer, 511 U.S. at
834. Prison officials must have a “sufficiently
culpable state of mind, ” and in prison-conditions
cases that state of mind is “deliberate
indifference” to inmate health or safety. Id.
“[T]he official must both be aware of facts from which
the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of
serious harm exists, and he must also draw the
inference.” Id. at 837. “The Eighth
Amendment does not outlaw cruel and unusual
‘conditions'; it outlaws cruel and unusual
‘punishments.'” Id. It is not enough
to establish that the official should have known of the risk
of harm. Id.
the sufficiency of a conditions-of-confinement claim depends
upon “the particular facts of each situation; the
‘circumstances, nature, and duration' of the
challenged conditions must be carefully considered.”
Despain v. Uphoff, 264 F.3d 965, 974 (10th Cir.
2001) (quoting Johnson v. Lewis, 217 F.3d 726, 731
(9th Cir. 2000)). “While no single factor controls . .
. the length of exposure to the conditions is often of prime
importance.” Id. As the severity of the
conditions to which an inmate is exposed increases, the
length of exposure required to make out a constitutional
violation decreases. Accordingly, “minor deprivations
suffered for short periods would not rise to an Eighth
Amendment violation, while ‘substantial deprivations. .
.' may meet the standard despite a shorter
duration.” Id. (citations omitted).
alleges very few facts that support his claims about the
conditions of his confinement. Plaintiff fails to allege that
any named defendant was personally responsible for any of the
conditions. Plaintiff complains of inadequate seating, but he
fails to allege the type of seating, where it is located, how
often it is used, and what makes it such an abhorrent type of
seating that it would violate the Eighth Amendment.
Similarly, Plaintiff complains about lack of sunlight but
alleges no specific facts regarding his exposure to sunlight.
Plaintiff does not allege anything about how often he is
allowed outside, how many windows there are at the jail, or
how often he is exposed to sunlight. Plaintiff alleges that
the lack of a “chow hall” forces him to eat on
his bed, the toilet, or on “hard steel seats, ”
but he offers no further elaboration of how this violates the
alleges no facts showing that a defendant “both knew of
and disregarded an excessive risk to [his] health or
safety.” Plaintiff has failed to allege any deprivation
that is “sufficiently serious” to implicate the
Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff has failed to allege any specific
policy, custom, or procedure of the Board that resulted in
the alleged violation of his constitutional rights. Instead,
he has pled “threadbare recitals of a cause of action
accompanied by conclusory statements.”
Twombly, supra at 556. Plaintiff has not made a
facially plausible claim that sufficiently alleges an Eighth
Amendment violation. Plaintiff's complaints regarding the
conditions of his confinement at MCCC fail to state a ...