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George v. Ballard

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

January 9, 2017

JAMES EDWARD GEORGE, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
RODNEY BALLARD, Warden, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE.

         Inmate James Edward George, Jr., is confined at the Northpoint Training Center (“NTC”) in Burgin, Kentucky. Proceeding without an attorney, George has filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [R. 1] and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b) [R. 3]. The Court has reviewed George's motion to proceed in forma pauperis, and will grant the request on the terms established by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b). Because George has been granted pauper status in this proceeding, the separate $50.00 administrative fee is waived. District Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule, § 14.

         I

         In his complaint, George names twenty-six defendants, including Kentucky Department of Corrections (“KDOC”) Commissioner Rodney Ballard, NTC Warden Don Bottom, and NTC Officers Chad Shearer, Jordan Ratliff, Stephen Boles, Dave Edwards, Chris Toelke, Webble, Phillips, Miller, Barnett, Barry Taylor, Shawn Goode, Michael Christian, Michael Long, Julie Thomas, Rector, Scott Gordon, Phillip Andrews, Bowen, Mudd, Jonathan Beasley, Ronnie Haynes, Merle Back, and Landon Leishner. Although George did not name Christopher Goode as a defendant at the outset of his complaint, he asserts a claim against Goode [R. 1 at 21] who will therefore be identified as a named defendant.

         Surprising for its 22-page length, George's complaint is almost entirely devoid of details regarding the events which gave rise to his claims, couching each only in broad, conclusory terms. But his claims can be condensed into several discernible groups. George alleges that on various occasions during the Spring and Summer of 2016:

1. In his presence, several officers beat the prison walls with their fists, something he claims was done to harass him and to retaliate against him for filing inmate grievances;
2. Other nearby officers failed to prevent their fellow officers from engaging in this wall-pounding;
3. Several officers made false statements when responding to his informal grievances regarding this conduct;
4. One officer failed to prevent a mechanical or electrical unit located in the floor below his cell from vibrating and making noise at night;
5. Several officers conducted strip searches upon him without a court order or reason to believe he was hiding contraband;
6. Several officers filed false disciplinary reports against him, subjecting him to the possible loss of privileges and good time credits;
7. One officer rubbed his genitals during a pat-down search; and
8. A Deputy Warden restricted his visitation privileges after he filed grievances regarding the searches.

         [R. 1] Across these eight categories, George asserts forty (40) discrete claims for relief. Attached to his complaint are 568 pages of inmate grievances he filed regarding these matters. [R. 1-1]

         As a preliminary matter, not all of these disparate claims belong in a single complaint. The Federal ...


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