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Martinez v. White

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

April 10, 2015

LEONEL MARTINEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
RANDY WHITE, WARDEN et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

GREG N. STIVERS, District Judge.

Plaintiff Leonel Martinez, a convicted prisoner incarcerated in the Kentucky State Penitentiary (KSP), has filed a pro se amended complaint (DN 32) in response to a Court Order (DN 21). Defendants Randy White and Bill Harvey, by counsel, filed a motion for the Court to screen the amended complaint pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (DN 34). Plaintiff filed no response. Upon consideration, IT IS ORDERED that the motion to screen (DN 34) the amended complaint is GRANTED. For the reasons that follow, the Court will allow an equal protection claim to proceed against Defendants Josh Patton, Tim Lane, and CTO Victoria, and the Court will dismiss all other claims.

I.

On initial review of the original complaint and its two amendments pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court allowed Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment equal-protection claim to proceed against Defendants KSP Warden Randy White and KSP "U.A., Job Assignment Officer" Bill Harvey based on Plaintiff's allegations that he is being denied prison employment because he is Hispanic (DN 21). On initial review, the Court additionally allowed Plaintiff to file an amended complaint as to his claims of retaliation and regarding his requests for Spanish books and his confinement in "the hole."

In his amended complaint, Plaintiff sues Defendants White and Harvey as well as Shea Holliman; Programs Director Skyla Grief; UA Josh Patton; Deputy Warden Joel Dunlap; UA Tim Lane; and CTO Victoria. He sues all Defendants in their individual and official capacities and seeks monetary and punitive damages and injunctive relief "by stopping unfair treatment of and to inmate." The allegations raised in the amended complaint are discussed in further detail below.

II.

Because Plaintiff is a prisoner suing governmental officers and proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court must review the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A. See McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). On review, a trial court shall dismiss a complaint, or any portion thereof, if the court determines that an action 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 §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b).

A. Official-Capacity Claims for Damages

The official-capacity claims for damages against all Defendants fail. As state actors sued in their official capacity for damages, all Defendants are entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity, Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 169 (1985) ("This [Eleventh Amendment] bar remains in effect when State officials are sued for damages in their official capacity."), and are not "persons" subject to suit under § 1983. See Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989); Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994). The official-capacity claims for damages, therefore, will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and for seeking monetary relief from Defendants immune from such relief.

B. Lack of Spanish Books

In the original complaint, the Court concluded that Plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts to state a constitutional claim related to his claim that his requests for Spanish books have been ignored. In the amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on June 25, 2014, "My Request for a Spanish Bible and or spanish books was denied! OUR Prison Library does not have any spanish books and due to my and other people repeated request for spanish books Deputy Warden Scott Jordan and Program Director Dan Smith Refuse to get these." While Plaintiff indicates that Deputy Warden Jordan and Program Director Smith refuse to get Spanish books, he does not name them as Defendants. Furthermore, Plaintiff does not indicate that he cannot read English; an attached grievance reveals that there is a means by which he can request/access Spanish books; and he alleges no harm resulting to him from not having Spanish books in the prison library. Plaintiff again failing to allege sufficient facts to state a constitutional claim regarding the lack of Spanish books at KSP, the claim will be dismissed.

C. Placement in "the hole"

On initial review of the complaint and its amendments, the Court construed Plaintiff's first amendment in a light most favorable to him and found that he was alleging that for over 90 days he was in "the hole" where he was "locked down 20 Hours a day Monday Thru Friday 24 Hours a day Sat and Sun." Because Plaintiff failed to attribute his placement in these conditions to any named Defendant, the Court concluded that he failed to state a claim against them.

In the amended complaint, Plaintiff does not specifically mention this claim. He does, however, allege that on August 7, September 18, and December 4, 2013, "I was given 90 days in the hole in Retaliation do to me filing greivances to protect me from being harassed by staff and my mail being sent to ...


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