United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CROW, U.S. SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is currently confined at the
Neosho County Jail in Erie, Kansas (“NCJ”). The
Court granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma
alleges in his Compliant that he received his legal mail
“with the corner torn open.” Plaintiff also
alleges that the living conditions at NCJ are unsanitary
because there are “urine crystals” on the toilets
and inmates are not given proper cleaning supplies. Lastly,
Plaintiff claims that there is no access to a law library at
NCJ. Plaintiff names as defendants: the Neosho County Jail;
Sheriff Jim Keith; and Captain Brady Maurer. Plaintiff seeks
damages in the amount of $1100 per day starting on January
7, 2019, the Court entered a Memorandum and Order and Order
to Show Cause (Doc. 5) (“MOSC”), granting
Plaintiff until June 28, 2019, to either show good cause why
his Complaint should not be dismissed or to file a proper
amended complaint to cure the deficiencies set forth in the
MOSC. The Court granted Plaintiff an extension of time to
August 26, 2019, to respond to the MOSC. (Doc. 7.) Plaintiff
has failed to respond within the allowed time.
MOSC, the Court found that: Plaintiff's single instance
of receiving his legal mail with the corner torn off failed
to show improper motive or interference with access to the
courts or counsel, and failed to allege a constitutional
violation; Plaintiff has failed to allege how the Sheriff and
Captain personally participated in the deprivation of his
constitutional rights; and Prison and jail facilities are not
proper defendants because none is a “person”
subject to suit for money damages under § 1983.
Court also found that Plaintiff fails to allege that any
named defendant was personally responsible for the alleged
unsanitary conditions at NCJ. It is also unclear how long
Plaintiff was exposed to the alleged conditions. Plaintiff
alleges no facts showing that a defendant “both knew of
and disregarded an excessive risk to [his] health or
safety” related to the presence of “urine
crystals” on his toilet. See Weldon v.
Ramstad-Hvass, 512 Fed.Appx. 783, 794 (10th Cir. 2013).
In comparison, a “bare allegation of [the presence of]
mold . . . does not create a reasonable inference regarding
the sort of threat to [a plaintiff's] mental or physical
well being which is necessary for violation of the Eighth
Amendment.” Cox v. Grady Cty. Detention
Center, 2008 WL 1925052, at *3-4 (W.D. Okla. April 29,
2008) (citing Dittmeyer v. Whetsel, 91 Fed.Appx. 111
(10th Cir. Feb. 11, 2004)). The Court found that
Plaintiff's complaints regarding the conditions of his
confinement at NCJ were subject to dismissal for failure to
state a claim of cruel and unusual punishment.
Court also found that Plaintiff has not alleged that the lack
of a law library prevented him from accessing the courts or
caused him actual injury. The claim is not plausible,
particularly since he was able to file this action in federal
district court. To state a denial of access claim due to lack
of legal resources, the inmate must allege something more
than that the prison's or jail's law library or legal
assistance program is inadequate. He “must go one step
further and demonstrate that the alleged shortcomings in the
library or legal assistance program hindered his efforts to
pursue a legal claim, ” causing him “actual
injury.” Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 348,
350 (1996). In order to satisfy the actual injury
requirement, the plaintiff must show that, by denying
plaintiff access to the law library, prison officials
frustrated or impeded the plaintiff's ability to file or
litigate a non-frivolous action. Id. at 351, 354-55.
Moreover, providing law library facilities to inmates is
merely “one constitutionally acceptable method to
assure meaningful access to the courts.” Id.
at 351 (citing Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 830
(1977)). It follows that the inmate represented by counsel is
not entitled to a law library.
the Court found that Plaintiff's request for compensatory
damages is barred by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e), because
Plaintiff has failed to allege a physical injury. Section
1997e(e) provides in pertinent part that “[n]o Federal
civil action may be brought by a prisoner confined in a jail,
prison, or other correctional facility, for mental or
emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior
showing of physical injury.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e).
has failed to show good cause why his Complaint should not be
dismissed for the reasons set forth in the MOSC.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT this case is
dismissed for failure to state a claim.