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Coleman v. Bolton

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

August 20, 2014

CULLIN COLEMAN III, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK BOLTON et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

CHARLES R. SIMPSON, III, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Cullin Coleman III, a convicted inmate incarcerated at the Jefferson County Jail, filed a pro se, in forma pauperis complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the Court on initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the reasons that follow, the Court will dismiss the official-capacity claims and allow Plaintiff to file an amended complaint with respect to his excessive-force claim.

I. SUMMARY OF CLAIMS

As Defendants, Plaintiff names Jefferson County Jail Director Mark Bolton;[1] Dwight Clark, an employee of the jail; and Jail Officer Vetter. He sues Defendants Bolton and Clark in their individual and official capacities and fails to specify in which capacity he sues Defendant Vetter. Plaintiff alleges that his constitutional rights were violated as follows:

A officer at Jefferson County Jail came into my dorm and grabbed me with intense force[] bending my arm until my shoulder poped. After almost breaking my arm then I was threw into the wall in the hallway of the basement hitting my head against the wall[] still with my arm bent behind my head he continued useing force against me. I had did nothing for this to happen to me, a officer at the scene is telling the whole time to let me go he's not the guy we have them 2 guys in cuffs right here still the officer would not let go.

Plaintiff alleges that he was denied "Doctor assistance" but states that the nurse took pictures of his injuries and gave him pain medicine. Plaintiff reports that the case worker at the jail will not give him the incident report so that he can get the name of the officer who assaulted him. As relief, Plaintiff requests money damages and that the officer responsible be laid off without pay.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Because Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must review the instant action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the court determines that it 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, 114 F.3d at 604.

A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The trial court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Id. at 327.

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)). "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).

Although courts are to hold pro se pleadings "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, " Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), this duty to be less stringent "does not require us to conjure up unpled allegations, " McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a claim for a plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975). To command otherwise would require courts "to explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the district court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role of an advocate seeking out the strongest arguments and most successful strategies for a party." Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

III. ANALYSIS

A. Defendants Bolton and Clark


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