United States District Court, D. Kansas
Crow, U.S. District Senior Judge
screening order (Doc. No. 4) addressing the original
complaint, the court directed plaintiff to show cause why the
original complaint should not be dismissed or file an amended
complaint. Plaintiff has filed an amended complaint on forms
for bringing an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Doc. No.
5. This matter is before the court to screen the amended
complaint. The court applies the same screening standards as
were discussed in the first screening order and the same
standards for proving a claim under § 1983. Doc. No. 4,
amended complaint names three members of the Labette County
Sheriff's Office as defendants, the Sheriff (Eichinger),
the Undersheriff (Davis), and the jail administrator
(Gravett).1 Plaintiff asserts in the amended complaint that
he fell in the 1 The court has corrected plaintiff's
spelling of Eichinger and Gravett's names. shower of B-1
cell at the Labette County Jail. There was standing water and
slick concrete. Plaintiff contends that rubber mats had been
removed before he fell and not replaced even after repeated
requests to “jail administration.” He also claims
that he was denied “additional medical
treatment.” Plaintiff fell on May 22, 2019. He asserts
that he still suffers headaches and blurred vision because of
allegations fail to state a claim for relief under §
1983 for reasons explained in the first screening order.
The Constitution, via the Eighth Amendment's guarantee
against cruel and unusual punishment, protects prisoners
serving sentences from deliberate indifference to a
substantial risk that conditions of confinement will cause
serious injury.2 Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
837 (1994). The Tenth Circuit has held that the risk of harm
from a wet, slippery floor is not sufficiently serious to
implicate constitutional protection via the Eighth Amendment.
In Reynolds v. Powell, 370 F.3d 1028, 1031 (10th
Cir. 2004), the court was concerned with standing water in
the shower area of a prison. The court stated: “Simply
put, a slip and fall, without more, does not amount to cruel
and unusual punishment.... Remedy for this type of injury, if
any, must be sought in state court under traditional tort law
principles.” Id. (interior brackets and
quotations omitted). The Tenth Circuit reached the same
result in Flandro v. Salt Lake County Jail, 53
Fed.Appx. 500, 500-01 (10th Cir. 2002) which
involved a slippery shower floor. The court noted that simply
because a serious injury is alleged does not render the
condition excessively or substantially risky for purposes of
Constitutional analysis. Id.
This court has followed these Tenth Circuit holdings in other
cases. For example, Hicks v. Johnson County Adult 2
Similar protections are afforded pretrial detainees under the
Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. See
Ledbetter v. City of Topeka, 318 F.3d 1183, 1188
(10th Cir. 2003). -- Detention Center, 2019 WL
4640576 *2 (D.Kan. 9/24/2019) concerned a slip and fall on
water which collected on a day room floor, and Griffin v.
Easter, 2014 WL 1478496 *3-4 (D.Kan. 4/15/2014) involved
a wet floor that was being mopped without a warning sign.
An inadvertent failure to provide adequate care, negligent
misdiagnosis, or a difference of opinion with medical
personnel regarding diagnosis or treatment falls short of the
Eighth Amendment standard; “[t]he Eighth
Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment
is not violated when a doctor simply resolves ‘the
question whether additional diagnostic techniques or forms of
treatment is indicated.'” Self v. Crum,
439 F.3d 1227, 1232 (10th Cir. 2006)(quoting Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107 (1976)). - The second reason
the complaint fails to state a claim under § 1983 is
that it does not allege facts showing more than negligence or
carelessness. To be deliberately indifferent, a defendant
must 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.” Farmer, 511
U.S. at 837.
Doc. No. 4, pp. 4-6.
has also failed to allege facts describing personal
participation by the individual defendants in the alleged
unconstitutional conduct. The three defendants appear to have
supervisory roles in the Sheriff's Department or the
Labette County Jail. “[P]ersonal participation in the
specific constitutional violation complained of is
essential” for individual liability. Henry v.
Storey, 658 F.3d 1235, 1241 (10th Cir. 2011). To
properly allege the liability of these supervisor defendants,
plaintiff must describe an affirmative link between them and
the alleged constitutional violation. Dodds v.
Richardson, 614 F.3d 1185, 1195 (10th Cir. 2010). This
requires allegations of: a) personal involvement in the
violation; b) a sufficient causal connection between the
supervisor's involvement and the constitutional
violation; and c) a culpable state of mind. Id.
“Personal involvement” can be alleged by stating
that: 1) the supervisor personally participated in the
alleged violation; 2) the supervisor exercised control or
direction over the alleged illegal acts, or the
supervisor's failure to supervise caused the alleged
illegal acts; 3) the supervisor knew of the violation and
acquiesced in its continuance; or 4) the supervisor
promulgated, created, implemented or utilized a policy that
caused the alleged deprivation of constitutional rights.
Id. A “causal connection” is alleged by
claiming that a supervisor defendant set in motion a series
of events that the defendant knew or reasonably should have
known would cause others to deprive plaintiff of her
constitutional rights. Id. at 1195-96.
amended complaint merely alleges that “jail
administration” was repeatedly requested to replace
rubber mats in front of the shower. This is insufficient to
link the alleged violation of plaintiff's rights to the
individual defendants named in the amended complaint. See
Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1250 (10th Cir.
2008)(allegation that “defendants” failed to
protect and supervise a child does not provide fair notice to
defendants of what acts are attributable to them as
above-stated reasons, the court finds that the amended
complaint fails to state a claim for relief. The court
directs that the amended complaint be ...