United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division
JEFFREY L. VIKEN CHIEF JUDGE.
5, 2017, plaintiff Troy Eugene American Horse filed a
complaint against defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and moved for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Dockets 1 & 2).
U.S.C. § 1915, as amended by the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (“PLRA”), governs proceedings filed
in forma pauperis. When a prisoner files a civil
action in forma pauperis, the PLRA requires a
prisoner to pay an initial partial filing fee when possible.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). The initial partial
filing fee is calculated according to § 1915(b)(1),
which requires a payment of 20 percent of the greater of:
(A) the average monthly deposits to the prisoner's
(B) the average monthly balance in the prisoner's account
for the 6-month period immediately preceding the filing of
the complaint or notice of appeal.
support of his motion, Mr. American Horse provided a copy of
his prisoner trust account report signed by an authorized
prison official. (Docket 3). The report shows an average
monthly deposit since he arrived at the institution at which
he is currently incarcerated of $0.00, an average monthly
balance of $0.00, and a current balance of $0.00.
Id. Based on this information, the court finds Mr.
American Horse is indigent and grants him leave to proceed
in forma pauperis.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the court must review a prisoner
complaint and identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. This screening
process “applies to all civil complaints filed by
prisoners, regardless of payment of filing fee.”
Lewis v. Estes, 242 F.3d 375, at *1 (8th Cir. 2000)
(unpublished) (citing Carr v. Dvorin, 171 F.3d 115,
116 (2d Cir. 1999)). During this initial screening process,
the court must dismiss the complaint in its entirety or in
part if the complaint is “frivolous, malicious, or
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or .
. . seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
court may dismiss a complaint under §§
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a
claim as “the statute accords judges not only the
authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce
the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and
dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly
baseless.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
327 (1989). Because Mr. American Horse is proceeding pro
se, his pleading must be liberally construed and his
complaint, “however inartfully pleaded, must be held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
American Horse used a Civil Rights Complaint By A Prisoner
form. (Docket 1). Mr. American Horse asserts the court has
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a)(3) and 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Id. at p. 1.
American Horse's complaint contains four counts. Counts 1
and 2 raise essentially the same claim. In Counts 1 and 2,
Mr. American Horse alleges Pennington County violated his
rights under the Eighth Amendment by failing to ensure the
Pennington County Jail provided him with adequate healthcare.
(Docket 1 at pp. 4-5). His allegations surround the denial of
his seizure medication that he claims was prescribed to him
by an outside doctor. Id. He alleges the prison
medical staff chose to “override” his
prescription. Id. Count 3 alleges the Pennington
County Sheriff's Office failed to train its officers at
the Pennington County Jail to provide adequate medical
treatment to inmates. Id. at 6. Count 4 claims
Shiloh MacNally violated Mr. American Horse's Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights by not protecting him from the
other defendants and forcing him to waive his constitutional
rights. Id. at 7. Mr. American Horse requests relief
in the form of $1, 000, 000 in money damages from each
defendant. Id. at 8.
American Horse fails to state a claim against Pennington
County and the Pennington County Sheriff's Office.
“[A] local government may not be sued under § 1983
for an injury inflicted solely by its employees or agents on
a theory of respondeat superior.” Andrews v.
Fowler, 98 F.3d 1069, 1074 (8th Cir. 1996) (internal
quotation marks omitted) (citing Monell v. Dep't. of
Soc. Servs. of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658
county may be liable for violation of constitutional rights
if the violation was caused by its customs or policies.
Crawford v. Van Buren Cty., Ark., 678 F.3d 666, 669
(8th Cir. 2012) (quoting Rynders v. Williams, 650
F.3d 1188, 1195 (8th Cir. 2011)). Mr. American Horse does not
point to any offending policy. He merely argues he was not
given medication that he should have been given.
professionals in the prison do not commit an Eighth Amendment
violation-as Mr. American Horse alleges-unless their actions
constitute deliberate indifference. See, e.g.,
Meuir v. Greene Cty Jail Emps., 487 F.3d 1115, 1119
(8th Cir. 2007) (finding a plaintiff has no constitutional
right to a particular course of treatment).
Meuir's analysis also applies to the claims
against the Pennington County ...