United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Judge United States District Court.
a civil rights action brought by a convicted prisoner
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted
Plaintiff Thomas Anderson 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 in part, but Plaintiff will be allowed to
amend his complaint.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
brings this action against three Defendants in their official
and individual capacities: Simpson County Detention Center
(SCDC) Jailer Eric Vaughn; SCDC Deputy Jailer Brent DeWeese;
and SCDC Major Tim Phillips.
time Plaintiff filed his complaint, he was incarcerated at
SCDC. In his complaint, he states that his
incarceration at SCDC began on March 5, 2017. Plaintiff
alleges that he has suffered from seizures for almost four
years and has been diagnosed with “bipolar disorder and
depression.” He states that while housed at SCDC he
completed several medical requests “to get help for
[his] seizures and [his] mental health.” He indicates
that, despite these requests, he did not receive medical
attention for either condition. He then writes:
“I've been having bad mental problems, and it's
continually getting worse. I have had several seizures since
I've been, and yet nothings being done to treat me
medically.” He continues: “I have filed grievance
after grievance and no relief yet.” He concludes his
complaint by stating: “This facility is denying me
medical and mental health treatment.” As relief,
Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages and
injunctive relief in the form of a transfer to a medical
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).
1983 creates no substantive rights, but merely provides
remedies for deprivations of rights established
elsewhere.” Flint ex rel. Flint v. Ky. Dep't of
Corr., 270 F.3d 340, 351 (6th Cir. 2001). Two elements
are required to state a claim under § 1983. Gomez v.
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635 (1980). “[A] plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution
and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged
deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of
state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988). “Absent either element, a section 1983 claim
will not lie.” Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d
502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).
Eighth Amendment protects convicted prisoners from the
“unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” U.S.
Const. amend. VIII. An Eighth Amendment claim requires a
plaintiff to prove two distinct components - one objective
and one subjective. First, the alleged deprivation must be,
objectively, “sufficiently serious, ”
i.e., the “official's act or omission must
result in the denial of the minimal civilized measure of
life's necessities.” Farmer, 511 U.S. 825,
834 (1970) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
Second, the official must have been “deliberately
indifferent” to the inmate's health or safety.
suits . . . ‘generally represent  another way of
pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is
an agent.'” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S.
159, 166 (1985) (quoting Monell v. New York City
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 n.55
(1978)). Thus, Plaintiff's official-capacity claims
against Defendants are actually against Simpson County.
See, e.g., Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d
433, 440 (6th Cir. 2008) (stating that civil rights suit
against county clerk of courts in his official capacity was
equivalent of suing clerk's employer, the county);
Griffin v. S. Health Partners, Inc., No.
1:12CV-P174-M, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17770, at *13-14 (W.D.
Ky. Feb. 11, 2013).
§ 1983 claim is made against a municipality, this Court
must analyze two distinct issues: (1) whether Plaintiff's
harm was caused by a constitutional violation; and (2) if so,
whether the municipality or private corporation is
responsible for that violation. Collins v. City of Harker
Heights, Tex., 503 U.S. 115, 120 (1992). The
municipality is only liable when an official policy or custom
of the corporation causes the alleged deprivation of federal
rights. See Street v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d
810, 818 (6th Cir. 1996) (“Monell involved a
municipal corporation, but every circuit to consider the
issue has extended the holding to private corporations as
well.”). Municipalities cannot can be held liable under