United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
P ELLISON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Nasim Ali Irsan and Khaled Abdelrahman Azzeh, pretrial
detainees in custody of the Harris County Sheriffs Office
("HCSO"), jointly filed this section 1983 civil
lawsuit against HCSO detention officer FNU Navarro.
Plaintiffs are proceedings se and in forma
screened the complaint as required by section 1915, the Court
DISMISSES this lawsuit for failure to raise
a viable claim for relief under section 1983.
BACKGROUND AND CLAIMS
allege in their complaint that, on June 4, 2019, at the
Harris County Jail, HCSO detention officer FNU Navarro
removed her utility belt and threatened them. Plaintiff Azzeh
claims that Navarro struck him, causing him to spill coffee
from the cup he was drinking and scald his hand. He states
that he did not seek medical attention for fear of
retaliation. Navarro did not strike plaintiff Irsan, and
Irsan does not allege that he sustained any physical injuries
during the incident.
Irsan and Azzeh seek $50, 000.00 and $100, 000.00 in monetary
plaintiffs are in custody and are proceeding in forma
pauperis, the Court is required to scrutinize the
complaint and dismiss the case, in whole or in part, if it
determines that the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). An action is
frivolous if it lacks any arguable basis in law or fact.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989);
Talib v. Gilley, 138 F.3d 211, 213 (5th Cir. 1998).
A complaint lacks an arguable basis in law if it is based on
an indisputably meritless legal theory, such as if the
complaint alleges violation of a legal interest which clearly
does not exist. Harris v. Hegmann, 198 F.3d 153, 156
(5th Cir. 1999).
sue Navarro in her official capacity, and allege that she is
employed by the HCSO. A suit against a municipal employee in
his or her official capacity is a suit against the
municipality. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159,
165 (1985); Bennett v. Pippin, 74 F.3d 578, 584 (5th
Cir. 1996). Consequently, plaintiffs' claims against
Navarro in her official capacity are claims against Harris
municipality such as Harris County may be liable under
section 1983 if the execution of one of its customs or
policies deprives a plaintiff of his constitutional rights.
Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
690-91 (1978). It is well settled that a municipality cannot
be liable under a theory of respondeat superior for
the actions of its employees. Piotrowski v. City of
Houston, 237 F.3d 567, 578 (5th Cir. 2001). "Under
the decisions of the Supreme Court and [the Fifth Circuit],
municipal liability under section 1983 requires proof of
three elements: a policy maker; an official policy; and a
violation of constitutional rights whose 'moving
force' is the policy or custom." Monell,
436 U.S. at 694; see also Valle v. City of Houston,
613 F.3d 536, 541-42 (5th Cir. 2010).
establish municipal liability in this case, plaintiffs must
plead "facts that show an official policy, promulgated
or ratified by the policymaker, under which the municipality
is said to be liable." Groden v. City of
Dallas, 825 F.3d 280 (5th Cir. 2016). Plaintiffs plead
no such factual allegations, and no viable claim is raised
against Navarro in her official capacity for purposes of
section 1983. Plaintiffs' claims against Navarro in her
official capacity must be dismissed for failure to raise a
viable claim for relief.
lawsuit is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE for
failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted
under section 1983. Any ...