United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
MICHAEL H. SAMMONS, Plaintiff,
WILLIAM Q. OVERTON, JR., et al, Defendants.
Jackson L. Kiser Senior United States District Judge.
Michael H. Sammons, an inmate proceeding pro se, has filed
this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. The matter before the court is the motion
to dismiss filed by defendants Sheriff William Q. Overton,
Jr., Deputy Sergeant Robert Feather, Jr., Deputy Sergeant
Robert Pigg, Deputy Teresa Bailey, Deputy Robert Hodges, the
Franklin County Board of Supervisors, and Superintendent
Bobby Russell. Upon review of the record, I conclude that
the defendants' motion must be granted.
December 3, 2017, Sammons, while confined at the Franklin
County Jail ("Jail"), slipped and fell due to a
leaky faucet in the holding cell. According to Sammons,
Sheriff Overton's "misappropriation of funds and
failing to have the faulty faucet repaired/replaced"
caused a "wet hazardous condition" that led to
Sammons' slip and fall. (Compl. ¶ 31 [ECF 1]).
Following the incident, Sammons received treatment for his
alleges that his injury was caused by the "negligence of
the Sheriff or/and his agents disregard for faulty
faucets." (Id. at ¶ 34). Prior to
Sammons' fall, there were "numerous slip and falls
caused by the wet hazardous conditions." (Id.
at ¶ 35). Sammons claims that he was left on the floor,
covered in feces and urine, and that the guards laughed at
him. The guards also did not provide Sammons with soap, clean
clothing, or proper bedding for a period of five days.
emergency room, Sammons was examined by a physician, given a
CT scan, and prescribed medication. According to Sammons,
"the staff of Franklin County Jail failed to follow or
fill [the prescription]." (Id. at ¶ 43).
Sammons further alleges that he was denied treatment during
his detainment at Western Virginia Regional Jail.
construed, Sammons' claims are that: (1) the conditions
in the holding cell, including the leaky faucet, violated his
Eighth Amendment rights; and (2) jail staff failed to give
him prescribed medication in violation of the Eighth
complaint need only contain "a short, plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). When evaluating a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a
court must accept as true all well-pleaded allegations.
See Vitol. S.A. v. Primerose Shipping Co., 708 F.3d
527, 539 (4th Cir. 2013); see also Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). "While a complaint
attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need
detailed factual allegations, a plaintiffs obligation to
provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires
more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not do."
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). Stated differently, to survive a motion to dismiss,
"a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
is proceeding pro se and, thus, entitled to a liberal
construction of his pleading. See, e.g.,
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 90-95 (2007).
However, "[principles requiring generous construction of
pro se complaints are not . . . without limits."
Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278
(4th Cir. 1985). "A court considering a motion to
dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that,
because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled
to the assumption of truth." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the
violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of
the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation
was committed by a person acting under color of state
law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
Notably, a plaintiff must sufficiently allege a
defendant's personal act or omission leading to a
deprivation of a federal right. See Fisher v. Washington
Metro. Area Transit Author., 690 F.2d 1133, 1142-43 (4th
Cir. 1982) (abrogated on other grounds by Cty. of
Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44 (1991)). Negligent
deprivations are not actionable under § 1983. See,
e.g., Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330
(1986); Pink v. Lester, 52 F.3d 73, 77 (4th Cir.
Conditions of Confinement
alleges that a cell where he was held at the Jail had a leaky
faucet, which led to his slip and fall, and subsequent
injury. The Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of
cruel and unusual punishment on one convicted of a crime.
U.S. Const, amend. VIII. The Eighth Amendment provides
protection with respect to "the treatment a prisoner
receives in prison and the conditions under which he is
confined." Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 31
(1993). Prison officials must take reasonable measures to
ensure the safety of inmates. Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 832 (1994). To make out an Eighth Amendment
cruel-and-unusual-punishment claim, a plaintiff must satisfy
two prongs: first, "the deprivation of [a] basic human
need was objectively sufficiently serious" and, second,