United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
WALTER H. CARY, III, Plaintiff,
HONORABLE DARRYL DANIELS, et al., Defendants.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL WITHOUT PREJUDICE
MORALES HOWARD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Walter H. Cary, III, a pretrial detainee at the Clay County
Jail in Green Cove Springs, Florida, initiated this action on
April 6, 2018, by filing a pro se Complaint for Violation of
Civil Rights (Complaint; Doc. 1). In the Complaint, Cary
names the following Defendants: (1) Clay County Sheriff
Darryl Daniels; (2) Clay County Sheriff's Office; and (3)
Clay County Jail. He asserts that jail officers violated his
and other detainees' federal constitutional rights when
they "thumb[ed] their nose[s] at the rights of the
pretrial detainees." See Complaint at 4. He
states that he and other pretrial detainees are housed in
subpar conditions at the jail. As relief, he requests
compensatory and punitive damages. He also seeks a Court
order directing the jail officials to "cease and desist
the violation of pretrial detainees' constitutional
rights." Id. at 5.
Prison Litigation Reform Act requires the Court to dismiss
this case at any time if the Court determines that the action
is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii). Additionally, the Court
must read Plaintiff's pro se allegations in a liberal
fashion. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972).
claim is frivolous if it is without arguable merit either in
law or fact." Bilal v. Driver, 251 F.3d 1346,
1349 (11th Cir. 2001) (citing Battle v. Central State
Hosp., 898 F.2d 126, 129 (11th Cir. 1990)). A complaint
filed in forma pauperis which fails to state a claim
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) is not automatically frivolous.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989).
Section 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) dismissals should only be ordered
when the legal theories are "indisputably meritless,
" id. at 327, or when the claims rely on
factual allegations which are "clearly baseless."
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992).
"Frivolous claims include claims 'describing
fantastic or delusional scenarios, claims with which federal
district judges are all too familiar.'"
Bilal, 251 F.3d at 1349 (quoting Neitzke,
490 U.S. at 328). Additionally, a claim may be dismissed as
frivolous when it appears that a plaintiff has little or no
chance of success. Id.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that (1) the defendant deprived him of a right secured
under the United States Constitution or federal law, and (2)
such deprivation occurred under color of state law.
Salvato v. Miley, 790 F.3d 1286, 1295 (11th Cir.
2015); Bingham v. Thomas, 654 F.3d 1171, 1175 (11th
Cir. 2011) (per curiam) (citation omitted); Richardson v.
Johnson, 598 F.3d 734, 737 (11th Cir. 2010) (per curiam)
(citations omitted). Moreover, the Eleventh Circuit
"'requires proof of an affirmative causal connection
between the official's acts or omissions and the alleged
constitutional deprivation' in § 1983 cases."
Rodriguez v. Sec'y, Dep't of Corr., 508 F.3d
611, 625 (11th Cir. 2007) (quoting Zatler v.
Wainwright, 802 F.2d 397, 401 (11th Cir. 1986)). More
than conclusory and vague allegations are required to state a
cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See L.S.T.,
Inc., v. Crow, 49 F.3d 679, 684 (11th Cir. 1995) (per
curiam); Fullman, 739 F.2d 553, 556-57 (11th Cir.
1984). As such, "'conclusory allegations,
unwarranted deductions of facts, or legal conclusions
masquerading as facts will not prevent dismissal.'"
Rehberger v. Henry Cty., Ga., 577 Fed.Appx. 937, 938
(11th Cir. 2014) (per curiam) (citation omitted). In the
absence of well-pled facts suggesting a federal
constitutional deprivation or violation of a federal right,
Plaintiff cannot sustain a cause of action against the
names the Clay County Sheriff's Office and Jail as
Defendants. Whether a party has the capacity to be sued is
determined by the law of the state in which the district
court sits. Dean v. Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1214-15
(11th Cir. 1992) (stating that certain subdivisions of local
or county governments, such as sheriff's departments and
police departments, generally are not legal entities subject
to suit). "Florida law has not established Sheriff's
offices as separate legal entities with the capacity to be
sued." Faulkner v. Monroe Cty. Sheriff's
Dep't, 523 Fed.Appx. 696, 701 (11th Cir. 2013).
Thus, a district court does not err in dismissing a claim
against a Florida Sheriff's office. Id.
Moreover, Florida law "does not recognize a jail
facility as a legal entity separate and apart from the
Sheriff charged with its operation and control."
Monroe v. Jail, No. 2:15-cv-729-FtM-99MRM, 2015 WL
7777521, at *2 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 3, 2015) (citing Chapter 30,
Florida Statutes); see Mellen v. Florida, No.
3:13-cv-1233-J-34PDB, 2014 WL 5093885, at *8 (M.D. Fla. Oct.
9, 2014). Because the Clay County Sheriff's Office and
Jail are not legal entities amenable to suit, Cary fails to
state § 1983 claims upon which relief may be granted
against the Clay County Sheriff's Office and Jail.
extent Cary complains that other pretrial detainees suffer
the same substandard jail conditions that he experiences at
the Clay County Jail, the general provision permitting
parties to proceed pro se, see 28 U.S.C. §
1654, provides "a personal right that does not extend to
the representation of the interests of others."
Timson v. Sampson, 518 F.3d 870, 873 (11th Cir.
2008). Accordingly, Cary may represent his own interests.
However, he may not represent the interests of others
regardless of whether they are current or former detainees.
Each detainee may initiate his own separate action by filing
a civil rights complaint form. In doing so, each litigant
will be required to follow the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Rule 8(a) requires that pleadings include a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
Additionally, Rule 10 requires that all averments of the
claim shall be made "in numbered paragraphs, each
limited as far as practicable to a single set of
circumstances." Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(b).
extent Cary complains about jail officers' negligent acts
relating to substandard jail conditions, the law is well
settled that the Constitution is not implicated by the
negligent acts of jail officials. Daniels v.
Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330-31 (1986); Davidson v.
Cannon, 474 U.S. 344, 348 (1986) ("As we held in
Daniels, the protections of the Due Process Clause,
whether procedural or substantive, are just not triggered by
lack of due care by prison officials."). Consequently,
any allegedly negligent conduct of which Cary complains does
not rise to the level of a federal constitutional violation
and provides no basis for relief in this 42 U.S.C. §
Cary names Sheriff Daniels as a Defendant. The United States
Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has stated:
"Supervisory officials are not liable under section 1983
on the basis of respondeat superior or vicarious
liability." Belcher v. City of Foley, Ala., 30
F.3d 1390, 1396 (11th Cir. 1994) (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted). "The standard by which a
supervisor is held liable in her individual capacity for the
actions of a subordinate is extremely rigorous."
Gonzalez, 325 F.3d at 1234 (internal quotation marks
and citation omitted). "Supervisory liability occurs either
when the supervisor personally participates in the alleged
constitutional violation or when there is a causal connection
between actions of the supervising official and the alleged
constitutional deprivation." Brown v. Crawford,
906 F.2d 667, 671 (11th Cir. 1990).
"The necessary causal connection can be established
'when a history of widespread abuse puts the responsible
supervisor on notice of the need to correct the alleged
deprivation, and he fails to do so.'"
Cottone, 326 F.3d at 1360 (citation
omitted). "The deprivations that constitute
widespread abuse sufficient to notify the supervising
official must be obvious, flagrant, rampant and of continued
duration, rather than isolated occurrences."
Brown, 906 F.2d at 671. A plaintiff can also
establish the necessary causal connection by showing
"facts which support an inference that the supervisor
directed the subordinates to act unlawfully or knew that the
subordinates would act unlawfully and failed to stop them
from doing so, " Gonzalez, 325 F.3d at 1235, or
that a supervisor's "custom or policy . . . resulted
in deliberate indifference to constitutional rights, "
Rivas v. Freeman, 940 F.2d 1491, 1495 (11th Cir.
Danley v. Allen, 540 F.3d 1298, 1314 (11th Cir.
2008) (overruled on other grounds as
recognized by Randall, 610 F.3d at 709 (11th Cir.
2008) (rejecting the application of a heightened pleading
standard for § 1983 cases involving qualified
immunity)); see Keith v. DeKalb Cty., Ga., 749 F.3d
1034, 1047-48 (11th Cir. 2014). In sum,
To state a claim against a supervisory defendant, the
plaintiff must allege (1) the supervisor's personal
involvement in the violation of his constitutional rights,
the existence of a custom or policy that resulted in
deliberate indifference to the plaintiff's constitutional
rights,  (3) facts supporting an inference that the
supervisor directed the unlawful action or knowingly failed
to prevent it,  or (4) a history of widespread abuse that
put the supervisor on notice of an alleged deprivation that
he then failed to correct. See id. at 1328-29
(listing factors in context of summary
judgment). A supervisor cannot be held liable under
§ 1983 for mere negligence in the training or
supervision of his employees. Greason v. Kemp, 891
F.2d 829, 836-37 (11th Cir. 1990).
Barr v. Gee, 437 Fed.Appx. 865, 875 (11th Cir. 2011)
(per curiam). Thus, any supervisory claim against Sheriff
Daniels fails because Cary has failed to allege any facts
suggesting that Daniels was personally involved in, or
otherwise causally connected to, any alleged ...