United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DANNY C. REEVES, District Judge.
David Wayne Bailey is an inmate confined by the Kentucky Department of Corrections ("KDOC") at the Northpoint Training Center ("NTC") in Burgin, Kentucky. Proceeding without an attorney, Bailey has filed a Complaint alleging that the defendants, who are all NTC officials, violated his federal constitutional rights. [Record No. 1] He seeks relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Bailey alleges that the defendants unlawfully terminated his position in the prison kitchen, retaliated against him for observing his religious beliefs, and wrongfully charged him with, and convicted him of, a prison disciplinary infraction.
The Court has granted several motions allowing Bailey to amend his Complaint to: clarify the official title of one defendant; assert new claims; and voluntarily dismiss claims against certain defendants. [ See Record Nos. 5, 7, and 9.] In two motions pending before the Court, Bailey again seeks permission to amend his Complaint. He has tendered identical Amended Complaints with both motions. [ See Record Nos. 10 and 11.] The Court will grant Bailey's August 27, 2014 motion to amend his Complaint [Record No. 10], but will deny his September 8, 2014 motion [Record No. 11] because it is duplicative.
This matter is also pending for a preliminary review of Bailey's Complaint and Fourth Amended Complaint. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A. Because Bailey is not represented by an attorney, the Court liberally construes his claims and accepts his factual allegations as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). For the reasons outlined below, Bailey has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. His Complaint, as amended, will be dismissed with prejudice. The Court will also deny Bailey's motion for injunctive relief. [Record No. 12]
Bailey previously held a position working in the NTC kitchen. Bailey states that: (i) he wanted to attend the "Resident's Encounter Christ's Retreat" ("RECR"), a religious event organized by the prison, which was scheduled for May 17, 2014; (ii) he received permission to attend the RECR more than a month before the event, contingent upon finding a replacement worker to perform his kitchen duties; and (iii) Defendant Randy Ingram, supervisor of the NTC food production managers, approved his arrangement for another inmate to cover his duties on the date of the RECR. On April 18, 2014, Bailey learned that the prison staff had scheduled him to work in the NTC kitchen on May 17, 2014, despite having received advance permission to attend the religious event. Bailey then filed a grievance regarding the scheduling conflict. [ See Inmate Grievance Form, Record No. 1-1, p. 2.] The grievance was dismissed two days later, however, because it concerned a nongrievable matter under the KDOC's regulation, CPP 15.6. [ Id. ]
On May 17, 2014, Defendant Kevin Bugg encountered Bailey in the NTC cafeteria and informed him that he needed to report to his assigned job in the kitchen. [Record No. 1, p. 3, ¶ 5] Bailey protested, stating that he would be attending the RECR, that his God came before his work, and that he had worked eight straight days so that he could attend the May 17, 2014.event [ Id. ] Bailey alleges that Bugg demanded that he "end his Religious Encounter" and report to his work. [ Id. ] Bailey also contends that Bugg instructed two watchmen to lock him up in the NTC Special Management Unit ("SMU") because he had disobeyed an order. [ Id., pp. 3-4; Record No, 10-1, pp. 4-5]
Bailey was ultimately allowed to attend the RECR but, two days later, Bugg charged Bailey with "Refusing or Failing to Carry Out a Work Assignment" as a result of the incident. [Record No. 1-1, pp. 8-9] On May 20, 2014, Defendant David L. Mudd, Bugg's supervisor, reviewed and approved the disciplinary charge. [ Id. ] Defendant Teresa A. Esque investigated the charge and determined that it should proceed. [ Id. ] Bailey alleges that on June 2, 2014, Esque violated his First Amendment religious rights by informing him that his kitchen job "comes before any recreational event." [ Id., p. 4, ¶ 7] Following Bailey's request, the disciplinary charge was referred to the NTC Adjustment Committee for a formal hearing. [ Id., pp. 8-9]
The formal hearing occurred on June 4, 2014, but Bailey claims that he was not present. [Record No. 12, p. 2, ¶ 6] Hearing Officer Jason W. Perkins found Bailey guilty of an amended charge of Disruptive Behavior. [Record No. 1-1, pp. 10-11] Bailey did not lose good-time credits ("GTC") as a result of the disciplinary conviction. However, he was required to perform 20 hours of extra duty work as a consequence. [ Id., § 3] Bailey immediately appealed his disciplinary conviction, but on June 9, 2014, NTC Warden Don Bottom rejected the appeal because Bailey had used the wrong form. [Record No. 12-1, pp. 2, 3] As a result, Bailey re-filed his appeal. On June 23, 2014, Warden Bottom concurred with Hearing Officer Perkins's findings and affirmed Bailey's conviction. [Record No. 1, p. 5]
Bailey reported to his kitchen job on May 20, 2014, assuming that Defendant Randy Ingram had interceded on his behalf regarding the events of May 17, 2014 and that his job was safe. [ Id., p. 4, ¶ 6] He states that he learned on May 20, 2014, that he was in jeopardy of losing his job. [ Id. ] On June 30, 2014, Bailey was notified that he was facing possible dismissal from his prison job, because he "did not show up for a scheduled shift after being told that he had to come in" and that he was not to report to work pending a decision by the Classification Committee. [Record No. 1-1, p. 5] On July 1, 2014, the Classification Committee officially removed Bailey from his prison job. [ Id. ]
Bailey alleges that the named defendants violated his right to observe his religious beliefs guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, violated his right to due process of law guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, and demonstrated deliberate indifference to his religious beliefs. Bailey seeks an order declaring the defendants' actions to be unconstitutional and he demands nominal and punitive damages from the defendants in their individual and official capacities. [Record No. 1, p. 6, ¶ 3]
On August 27, 2014, the Court granted Bailey's motion to amend his complaint to dismiss the § 1983 claims which he had recently asserted against Justin Yeast and Craig Hughes. [ See Record No. 9] Bailey then filed two motions [Record Nos. 10 and 11] seeking permission to file the identical tendered Amended Complaint [Record Nos. 10-1 and 11-1], which is now the Fourth Amended Complaint. In that filing, Bailey reiterates the same facts and legal claims set out in his original Complaint, but provides more details about the events. Bailey alleges that the defendants violated both his federal constitutional rights and NTC policies and procedures, that Defendant Randy Ingram was deliberately indifferent to his right to observe his religious beliefs, and that Defendant Bugg's actions "constituted assault." [Record No. 10-1, p. 4, ¶ 3(A); p. 8, ¶ 2] Bailey again requested an order declaring that the defendants' actions violated his constitutional rights, an order expunging his "wrongful conviction, " nominal and punitive damages, and a trial by jury. [ See id., p. 9, ¶ 2]
Finally, Bailey has filed a motion asking this Court to enter a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order directing the defendants to protect the security of religious freedoms of NTC prisoners; allow NTC prisoners to attend special religious services; and prevent the defendants from requiring NTC prisoners "to do work that is contrary to their religious beliefs... or creating a custom that is arbitrary and cloaks retaliation(s)." [Record No. 12, p. 3] Bailey further alleges that on May 17, 2014, Inmate Hank House worked for him but received no compensation. [ Id., p. 2, ¶ 10] Although it is not clear from his motion, Bailey may also be seeking monetary relief on behalf of House.
A. Official Capacity Claims
Bailey's claim for monetary damages from the named NTC defendants in their official capacities is barred by Eleventh Amendment immunity. Under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution,  a state and its agencies may not be sued in federal court, regardless of the relief sought, unless the state has waived its immunity or Congress has overridden it. Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Auth. v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., 506 U.S. 139, 146 ...