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Dickey v. Rapier

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

April 19, 2017



          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge.

         Plaintiff, Travis G. Dickey, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, initiated this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. 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, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the following reasons, the complaint will be dismissed in part and allowed to continue in part.


         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the Fulton County Detention Center. His allegations concern his prior incarceration at the Bullitt County Detention Center (BCDC). He names as Defendants BCDC Deputy Jailer Joe Rapier in his individual and official capacities; BCDC Chief Jailer Martha Knox in her official capacity; and BCDC Captain Misty Burkhead in her individual capacity.

         Plaintiff alleges that on May 26, 2016, Defendant Rapier illegally strip-searched him without probable cause. Plaintiff alleges that this conduct violated his Fourth Amendment rights. In particular, he alleges that Defendant Rapier violated his rights

when he illegally searched me for the second time. Officer Rapier stated ‘he thought I had been a victim of rape.' This was an unreasonable search nor did he have probable cause to strip search me for the second time. He stated that he wanted to have me checked out by medical staff which never happened. Officer Rapier went outside his professional guidelines as a jail deputy and used abusive official conduct.

         Plaintiff next alleges that in June 2016 a friend came to the jail to speak to Defendant Knox about the issues of sexual harassment Plaintiff had been facing, stating that Plaintiff did not want to release the deputy's name for fear of retaliation. After this meeting, Defendant Knox pulled Plaintiff from his cell, and Plaintiff told her about an officer who had been stalking him on his Facebook page and had made comments about Plaintiff's profile picture in front of his entire cell. He also told Defendant Knox about the strip search. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Knox was “very unprofessional, ” became mad at him, and told him that she could not help him if he did not give her the name of the officer. Plaintiff states that Defendant “tried and tried to coerce” Plaintiff into telling her the officer's name. He alleges that this conduct was a violation of his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

         Plaintiff states that his friend gave Defendant Knox the name of the officer (Defendant Rapier). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Knox stated that she would look into it but would not tell Defendant Rapier of the allegations against him.

         Plaintiff states that on July 4, 2016, Defendant Rapier, along with other officers, conducted a cell search. During the search, Defendant Rapier told the officer patting down Plaintiff “‘to pat that mother f***er down and keep him away from [Defendant Rapier] and to make sure he's on camera when he pats me down.'” This remark indicated to Plaintiff that Defendant Knox had told Defendant Rapier about Plaintiff's allegations despite being warned of the danger to Plaintiff. He alleges that Defendant Rapier retaliated against him on July 12, 2016, by leaving Plaintiff in segregation, where Plaintiff was told that he had been placed “due to ‘no bed space.'” He alleges that being placed in segregation was a “Violation of 8th Amendment cruel and unusual punishment.” Plaintiff states that he was told two days later that he was now in segregation “per Captain Burkhead until further notice which completely contradicts 1st shifts story of me being in disciplinary segregation due to no bed space because Captain Burkhead works 3rd shift and oversees all disciplinary actions.” Plaintiff states that he spoke to Defendant Burkhead on July 15 and was told she had no knowledge of “anything in regards to me or why I was in segregation.”

         Plaintiff states that grievances he filed regarding Defendant Rapier received no response. He further states that he requested to speak to the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) officer, Defendant Burkhead; explained to her the situation with Defendant Rapier; and requested to be moved to another hall to be away from Defendant Rapier. Defendant Burkhead told Plaintiff that she would start a PREA investigation. However, Plaintiff states that when he was released from segregation he still had contact with Defendant Rapier. Plaintiff states that he wrote a grievance stating that he did not feel safe and did not want Defendant Rapier to search his belongings without Plaintiff being present. Defendant Burkhead advised him that this was not a grievable issue. Defendant Burkhead told him that if he did not feel safe his only option was to be placed into administrative segregation, which Plaintiff alleges is “[a] violation of my 8th Amendment cruel and unusual punishment.”

         Plaintiff states that on July 25, he asked Defendant Burkhead to stop her investigation, hand it over to outside authorities, and have an advocate come and speak to Plaintiff. He states that she ignored his request.

         As relief, Plaintiff asks for punitive damages.

         II. ANALYSIS

         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 action, 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 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) and (2). A claim is legally frivolous when it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). The Court may, therefore, dismiss a claim as frivolous where it is based on an indisputably meritless legal theory or where the factual contentions are clearly baseless. Id. at 327. 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 Plaintiff and accept all of the factual allegations as true. Prater v. City of Burnside, Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). While a reviewing court must liberally construe pro se pleadings, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam), to avoid dismissal, a complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

         A. ...

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