United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Edward Smith, Pro Se Plaintiff.
P. Jones United States District Judge
Edward Smith, a Virginia jail inmate proceeding pro se, filed
this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he
slipped, fell and was injured, and did not receive proper
medical care. Upon review of the record, I find that the
action must be summarily dismissed for failure to state a
sues the “Southwest Reginal Jail Authoriy Duffield
Vaginia [sic]” (the “Jail Authority”).
Compl. 1, ECF No. 1. Smith alleges that on May 12, 2016,
while playing basketball in a jail gymnasium, he “ran
into a pool of water” about twenty to thirty feet from
the bathroom. Id. at 3. His feet slipped, and he
landed “very hard” on his back, neck, arms, and
buttock areas, and his “head slam[m]ed against the
concrete floor.” Id. Other inmates helped him
up and called officers, who took Smith to the medical unit. A
nurse took his vital signs and gave him some Tylenol. Smith
contends: “Upon falling [I] ask them for help. They
want [sic] do nothing. [I] didn't want it to come to
this. [T]hey left me no choi[c]e.” Id. at 2.
Smith states that he has been in “constant pain”
and needs surgery on both arms. Id.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(A)(b)(1), the court must dismiss any
§ 1983 action “with respect to prison conditions .
. . if the court is satisfied that the action is frivolous,
malicious, [or] fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted.” A complaint must be dismissed if it does
not allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.”
Giarrantano v. Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir.
1983 permits an aggrieved party to file a civil action
against a person for actions taken under color of state law
that violated his constitutional rights. See Cooper v.
Sheehan, 735 F.3d 153, 158 (4th Cir. 2013). To prove
that a governmental entity, such as a local jail authority,
is liable under § 1983 for constitutional violations
committed by its employees, the plaintiff must show that the
entity's policy was “the moving force of the
constitutional violation.” Polk Cty. v.
Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 326 (1981). “Local governing
bodies . . . can be sued directly under § 1983 for
monetary, declaratory, or injunctive relief where . . .
action that is alleged to be unconstitutional implements or
executes a policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or
decision officially adopted and promulgated by that
body's officers.” Monell v. NYC Dep't of
Soc. Serv., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978). Because Smith
states no facts linking any of the circumstances alleged in
his § 1983 action to a specific policy or decision
“officially adopted” by the governing body of the
Jail Authority, his Complaint fails to state an actionable
claim against this entity, the only defendant that he has
named. Therefore, I must summarily dismiss this action
without prejudice under § 1915A(b)(1).
separate Final Order will be entered herewith.
 I have omitted internal quotation
marks, alterations, and citations here and throughout this
opinion, unless otherwise noted.
 In any event, I am satisfied that
Smith could not amend his pleading to state any actionable
constitutional claim against anyone at the jail, consistent
with his current allegations. The Eighth Amendment
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment
“protects inmates from inhumane treatment and
conditions while imprisoned.” Williams v.
Benjamin, 77 F.3d 756, 761 (4th Cir. 1996). To prove a
constitutional claim related to an unsafe jail condition,
Smith must show that one or more prison officials acted with
deliberate indifference: that they knew, subjectively, the
condition presented a substantial risk of serious harm and
nevertheless failed to take “reasonable measures”
to alleviate it. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
834, 847 (1994). “[A]n official's failure to
alleviate a significant risk that he should have perceived
but did not . . . [cannot] be condemned as the infliction of
punishment.” Id. at 838.
Similarly, only deliberate indifference to an
inmate's serious medical need violates the Eighth
Amendment. See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104
(1976). Again, the deliberate indifference component of this
standard requires proof of intent beyond mere negligence,
errors in medical judgment, inadvertent oversights, or
disagreements the prisoner may have with the medical staff
about the appropriate treatment plan. See Jackson v.
Lightsey, 775 F.3d 170, 178 (4th Cir. 2014).
Smith's allegations do not support a claim that
anyone at the jail acted with deliberate indifference to the
hazard presented by the wet gymnasium floor or to any serious
medical need for different treatment than Smith received
after his fall. At the most, he suggests that jail staff
negligently maintained the bathroom and gymnasium facilities
and that medical personnel negligently assessed his need for
medical care. Such negligence ...