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Cowles v. Bufford

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green

May 15, 2014

LAMONT BUFFORD et al., Defendants.


THOMAS B. RUSSELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Lonnie Earl Cowles filed the instant pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action proceeding in forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court on initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons stated below, the Court will allow Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Lamont Bufford in his individual capacity to proceed and dismiss the remaining claims.


Plaintiff is a convicted inmate at the Warren County Regional Jail. He sues Defendant Bufford, whom he identifies as a bailiff at the Warren County Justice Center, and the Warren County Sheriff's Office. He states that he sues both Defendants in their individual and official capacities.

Plaintiff states that on December 12, 2013, he was being arraigned in Warren County District Court on criminal charges. He states, "I was very upset when Hon. Judge Brent Potter stated in open court and on Record that the case in front of him was very circumstantial...." Plaintiff reports that he was escorted from the courtroom shackled and handcuffed and placed in a holding cell with other inmates. He further states as follows:

I be the first to admit that I was upset talking loudly to the other inmates about my charges. That's When Deputy Bailiff Lamont Bufford opened the holding cell Door, and told me to lay on the floor of cell, with Tazer pointed directly at me. I am no way posing a threat or harm to no one, but Deputy Lamont Bufford Deployed Tazer while standing at entrance of Holding cell. I'm approximately 8 to 10 feet from Deputy Laying face down on floor thats when for no reason at all he took action of Lethal Force upon his on Judgment while I was laying face down handcuffed and shackled on floor. I was shot in Back with a large Spread from Tazer Wires Clearly shows the distance of Deployment. This to me is very un-professional and cruel and unusual punishment.

Further, Plaintiff alleges that "Deputy Jailer Capt. Tim Robinson took pictures, and stated that the spread of contact was further than he has ever seen before, the Warren County Jail staff was very shocked and Concerned for me due to this unnecessary action taken against me."

As relief, Plaintiff seeks punitive damages.


When a prisoner initiates a civil action seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of it, if the court determines that the complaint is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See § 1915A(b)(1), (2); McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007).

In order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, "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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "[A] district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true." Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)). "But the district court need not accept a bare assertion of legal conclusions.'" Tackett, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995)). "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s]' devoid of further factual enhancement.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557).


Section 1983 creates a cause of action against any person who, under color of state law, causes the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or the laws of the United States. A claim under § 1983 must therefore allege two elements: (1) the deprivation of federal statutory or constitutional rights by (2) a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Flint v. Ky. Dep't of Corr., 270 F.3d 340, 351 (6th ...

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