United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
T.J. HAGWOOD, ID # 1709960, Plaintiff,
THE SALVATION ARMY, Defendant.
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION
CARRILLO RAMIREZ, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Special Order 3-251, this pro se prisoner
case has been automatically referred for full case
management. Based on the relevant filings and applicable law,
the complaint should be DISMISSED.
Hagwood (Plaintiff), currently an inmate in the Dallas County
Jail, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
the Salvation Army (Defendant), which operates a halfway
house where he had been ordered to stay as a result of a
criminal case. (doc. 3 at 4.) He contends that on the morning
of February 8, 2017, he went to the restroom on the second
floor. (Id.) The floor was wet, and he slipped and
fell and hit his head. (Id.) His injury required a
visit to the emergency room, where he received five stitches
for a cut over his right eye. (Id.) He seeks
compensation for his pain and suffering. (Id.) No
process has been issued.
is a prisoner who has been permitted to proceed in forma
pauperis. As a prisoner seeking redress from a
governmental entity or an officer or employee of a
governmental entity, his complaint is subject to preliminary
screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, known as the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). See Martin v. Scott, 156
F.3d 578, 579-80 (5th Cir. 1998) (per curiam). Because he is
proceeding in forma pauperis, his complaint is also
subject to screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Both
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(b) provide for sua
sponte dismissal of the complaint, or any portion
thereof, if the Court finds it is frivolous or malicious, if
it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,
or if it seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.
complaint is frivolous when it “lacks an arguable basis
either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). A claim lacks an
arguable basis in law when it is “based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory.” Id. at
327. A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted when it fails to plead “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); accord Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937,
seeks monetary damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. That
section “provides a federal cause of action for the
deprivation, under color of law, of a citizen's
‘rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws' of the United States” and
“afford[s] redress for violations of federal statutes,
as well as of constitutional norms.” Livadas v.
Bradshaw, 512 U.S. 107, 132 (1994). To state a claim
under § 1983, Plaintiff must allege facts that show (1)
he has been deprived of a right secured by the Constitution
and the laws of the United States; and (2) the deprivation
occurred under color of state law. See Flagg Bros., Inc.
v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155 (1978); Cornish v.
Corr. Servs. Corp., 402 F.3d 545, 549 (5th Cir. 2005).
they are performing a government function, private
corporations that contract with the state to house state
prisoners and their employees may be sued under § 1983.
See Rosborough v. Management & Training Corp.,
350 F.3d 459, 461 (5th Cir.2003) (holding that private
prison-management corporations and their employees are state
actors under § 1983); White v. Soto, No.
3:12-CV-372-M-BH, 2012 WL 1969658, at *1 (N.D.Tex. Apr. 20,
2012) (addressing the merits of a § 1983 suit filed by a
state prisoner against an employee of a halfway house);
McKinney v. Hallman, No. 4:09-CV-151-Y, 2009 WL
1574577, *2 (N.D.Tex. June 4, 2009) (same); Clerkley v.
Correctional Services Corp., No. 4:05-CV199Y, 2005 WL
1025785 (N.D.Tex. Apr. 29, 2005) (same).
test to determine liability for a private prison-management
corporation under § 1983 is more or less identical to
the test employed to determine municipal or local government
liability.'” Burleson v. Medical Provider at
LaSalle Southwest Corrections, No. 3:16-CV-2534-B, 2017
WL 3053072, at *2 (N.D.Tex. June 19, 2017), quoting
Carter v. LaSalle Southwest Corrections, No.
3:15-CV-2072, 2015 WL 6442751, at *2 (W.D. La. Sept. 28,
2015). Plaintiffs must allege “a policymaker; an
official policy; and a violation of constitutional rights
whose ‘moving force' is the policy or
custom.” Cox v. City of Dallas, 430 F.3d 734,
748 (5th Cir. 2005). The official policy requirement means
that municipal liability under § 1983 is limited to
action for which the municipality is actually
responsible.” Pembaur v. City of Cincinnati,
475 U.S. 469, 479-80 (1986). Section 1983 does not allow a
municipality to be held vicariously liable for its
employees' actions on a theory of respondeat superior.
See Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs of Bryan Cnty. v.
Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403 (1997); Monell v. N.Y.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691-95 (1978).
Likewise, “a private corporation cannot be deemed
vicariously liable under § 1983 for its employees'
deprivations of others' civil rights.”
Carter, 2015 WL 6442751, at *2.
Plaintiff appears to sue Defendant based on the actions of
its personnel. He fails to state a claim under the theory of
respondeat superior. As discussed below, he has also fails to
sufficiently allege a violation of a constitutional right.