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Phillips v. Blue

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro

March 4, 2015

JOE BLUE et al., Defendants.


JOSEPH H. McKINLEY, Jr., Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff Ronald E. Phillips filed the instant pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action proceeding in forma pauperis . Subsequent to the complaint, Plaintiff filed a motion which he captioned as a "motion for injunction to be housed in a state facility" (DN 8). Because the motion alleges events that happened after the date of the complaint, the Court construes the motion as both a motion for injunctive relief[1] and a motion to supplement the complaint. IT IS ORDERED that the motion to supplement the complaint (DN 8) is GRANTED. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(d). This matter is before the Court on initial review of the complaint and supplemental complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Upon initial review, for the reasons set forth herein, the Court will dismiss the action.


Plaintiff is a convicted inmate currently incarcerated at the Grant County Jail. The complaint concerns his previous incarceration at the Hopkins County Detention Center (HCDC). He sues Joe Blue, the Hopkins County Jailer, in his official capacity; and LaDonna Thompson, the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Corrections. He does not identify in which capacity he sues Thompson.

Plaintiff states that on September 3, 2014, he was placed in the HCDC Class D community work program. He states, "The parole board recomended the I participate in (OJT) to obtain real world work experience, and work a schedule that approximates the workday in the community, and pay me 65¢ for each day work and apply work credit toward my sentence." Plaintiff states that he performed his work but "the jailer has fail to properly compensate myself and a number of other state inmates." He states that he filed grievances and that "the Commissioner of Dept. of Corrections was made aware of the sititution, with unsatisfactory ansewer and in so many words was told it's not a D.O.C. problem and that's why Ms Thompson has been named in this suit." He states, "My freedom and safety has been compromised and I really need the Court to intervene." As relief, Plaintiff seeks only injunctive relief in the form of "ordering the Hopkins Co. Jail to comply with CPP's and KAR's."

In the supplemental complaint, Plaintiff requests to be housed in a state facility "for the rest of his sentence or the disposition of this case whichever comes first." Plaintiff states that since filing the instant action, "I've experienced nothing but harassment." He states, "The same day I received the notice and order for filing fee... I was transfered... from Hoskin County Jail to Campbell County Jail and the order to transfer money from my account was totally ignored...." Plaintiff states that when he arrived at the Campbell County Jail, "there was a incident about a ofc. takeing thirty (30$) cash out of my locker." He states that he requested grievance forms but was denied them. He states that he was then transferred to the Grant County Jail. He states, "It's clear that I'm intentionally being hindered from pursueing my case, upon leaveing Campbell County it was the same day commisary was to be delivered which total $23.23 I never received my goods was told I wouldn't be reimburst." He reports that when he entered the Grant County Jail he was told that he owes $25.00 for hygiene items that he did not request or receive because he was allowed to keep his hygiene items from Campbell County. He states, "I know a lot of these jails work and contract with each other and I am very much in fear of my safety." Finally, Plaintiff states, "There's a lot of criminal activaty going on thats being covered up and I plan on contacting the U.S. District Atty. with my information, but I can't pursue my case being shuffled and robbed of my money."


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). When determining whether a plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court must construe the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept all of the factual allegations as true. Prater v. City of Burnside, Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002).

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)).


Denial of work credit

Plaintiff maintains that he was denied the opportunity to earn work credit while housed at the HCDC. As relief, he demands injunctive relief in the form of "ordering the Hopkins Co. Jail to comply with CPP's and KAR's." The claim fails for several reasons.

First, Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated at the HCDC. An inmate's claim for injunctive relief becomes moot due to the inmate's release from confinement or transfer to another facility. See Kensu v. Haigh, 87 F.3d 172, 175 (6th Cir. 1996) (finding inmate's request for injunctive relief moot as he was no longer confined to the institution where the alleged wrongdoing occurred). Therefore, Plaintiff's claim for injunctive relief concerning the conditions at the HCDC must be dismissed as moot.

Furthermore, even if Plaintiff had demanded monetary damages in connection with this claim, a prisoner does not have a constitutional right to prison employment. Martin v. O'Brien, 207 F.Appx. 587, 590 (6th Cir. 2006) (citing Newsom v. Norris, 888 F.2d 371, 374 (6th Cir. 1989)); Argue v. Hofmeyer, 80 F.Appx. 427, 429 (6th Cir. 2003) (prisoners have no constitutional right to rehabilitation, education or jobs). Likewise, "[a] Kentucky inmate possesses no inherent constitutional right... to accumulate good time credits." Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 575 (6th Cir. 2008) (citation ...

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