United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court
a civil rights action brought by a pretrial detainee pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff
Derrick D'Keith Akins leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. This matter is before the Court for screening
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, 594
U.S. 199 (2007). For the reasons set forth below, the action
will be dismissed.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
brings this action against his “appointed counsel,
” William Michael Corrigan, in his individual capacity.
Plaintiff alleges that his “constitutional right to
have fair and proper counsel” has been violated by
Defendant Corrigan's refusal to work on Plaintiff's
behalf. Plaintiff alleges that he told Defendant Corrigan
that the lead detective in his case had presented false
information to obtain an arrest warrant and provided the
grand jury with false information to obtain an indictment
against him. Plaintiff states that Defendant Corrigan told
him that “this information had no [validity].”
Plaintiff further states that Defendant Corrigan told him in
“open court” that he would not “adopt any
and all future motions regardless of their merit.”
Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Corrigan told him
“to just take the plea deal being offered, ” and
that if Plaintiff was unhappy, he should “file for
conflict of counsel.”
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
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 v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d at 604. 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)).
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] pro se
complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89
(2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976)). However, while liberal, this standard of review does
require more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions.
See Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum,
58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995). The court's duty
“does not require [it] 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 the court “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).
essential elements of a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 are
that the conduct complained of: (1) was committed by a person
acting under color of state law and (2) deprived plaintiff of
rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution
or laws of the United States. Parratt v. Taylor, 451
U.S. 527, 535 (1981), overruled in part on other grounds,
Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986). “Absent
either element, a section 1983 claim will not
lie.” Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504
(6th Cir. 1991). To be a “state actor, ” a
party's actions must be “‘fairly attributable
to the state.'” Ellison v. Garbarino, 48
F.3d 192, 195 (6th Cir. 1995) (quoting Lugar v.
Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 937 (1982)). Attorneys
representing clients in criminal actions do not act under
color of law for § 1983 purposes, even where such
attorneys are appointed by the government to represent the
criminal defendant. Polk Cty. v. Dodson, 454 U.S.
312 (1981). Thus, Defendant Corrigan was not acting
under color of state law in acting as Plaintiffs
attorney. Accordingly, Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.