United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge.
Eugene Grady, Jr., a Virginia inmate proceeding pro
se, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, against the Middle River Regional Jail
(“jail”) and three of its high-ranking officers,
claiming various violations of his constitutional rights. He
has also filed a pleading that the court will construe as a
motion to amend, ECF No. 6. After review of the record, the
court concludes that this civil action as amended is
appropriately dismissed without prejudice for failure to
state a claim.
allegations in Grady's submissions describe the following
sequence of events. On December 7, 2018, while he was lying
on his bottom bunk, the top bunk broke and fell, hitting
Grady on the head. Officers transported him to Augusta
Medical Center for treatment. The doctor there said that
Grady was “experiencing a pinched never [sic]” in
his neck and prescribed medications for him. Mot. Am. 1, ECF
Grady returned to the jail, he was in pain and asked to see a
nurse. A sergeant sprayed him with pepper spray.
January 5, 2019, a nurse refused to give Grady his
medications because he had not been taking them. Grady saw
the doctor again on January 7, 2019, who told him that he
“should be getting Pretzone [sic] and motrin twice
daily.” Compl. 2, ECF No. 1. The next day, a nurse told
Grady that “it would take 2-3 days before [his] meds
came in.” Mot. Am. 2, ECF No. 6. On January 9, at
evening pill pass, Grady received motrin, but not the second
medication. In early February of 2019, Grady was transferred
to a state prison facility.
court is required to dismiss any action or claim filed by a
prisoner against a governmental entity or officer if the
court determines that the action or claim is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). Section 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. Cooper v. Sheehan, 735 F.3d
153, 158 (4th Cir. 2013). A complaint must be dismissed if it
does not allege “enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
names the jail itself as a defendant. A jail building,
however, cannot qualify as a person subject to being sued
under § 1983. See, e.g., McCoy v.
Chesapeake Corr. Ctr., 788 F.Supp. 890, 893-94 (E.D. Va.
1992). Therefore, the court must dismiss Grady's claims
against the jail.
three other individuals named as defendants in the heading of
Grady's complaint are Jack Lee, Capt. Bostie, and Major
Nichelson. Grady does not describe any action any one of
these defendants took, personally, that violated Grady's
rights or harmed him in any way. He apparently seeks to hold
them vicariously liable for the actions of their subordinates
at the jail, such as the officer who sprayed the mace and the
nurses who refused Grady his medications. Vicarious liability
for supervisory officials, also known as respondeat
superior, does not apply in § 1983 cases, however.
See, e.g., Vinnedge v. Gibbs, 550
F.2d 926, 928 (4th Cir. 1977) (finding that under §
1983, “liability will only lie where it is
affirmatively shown that the official charged acted
personally in the deprivation of the plaintiff['s]
rights”). Accordingly, Grady's claims against Lee,
Bostie, and Nichelson must be dismissed for failure to state
these reasons, the court concludes that Grady's
submissions do not state any claim upon which relief could be
granted against the defendants he has sued. Therefore, the
court will summarily dismiss the action without prejudice
under § 1915A(b)(1). An appropriate order will enter
this day. Such a dismissal leaves Grady free to refile his
claims in a new and separate civil action if he can correct
the deficiencies described in this opinion.
Clerk is directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion
and accompanying order to plaintiff.
 Grady's complaint as amended also
fails to provide other, necessary facts about his claims. If
he chooses to file a new § 1983 action, the types of
information the complaint should provide include, but are not
limited to, a chronological account of what happened (from
the day the bed fell through the period when medications were
allegedly not provided), the circumstances surrounding the
use of pepper spray on Grady, when and who Grady asked about
his medications and what responses ...