United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
MARK A. JACKSON PLAINTIFF
DEPUTY WARDEN JAMES COYNE DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE.
a civil rights action brought by a convicted prisoner
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted
Plaintiff Mark A. Jackson 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 and allowed to continue in part.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
brings this action against five Kentucky State Reformatory
(KSR) employees in both their official and individual
capacities: Deputy Warden James Coyne; “CTO
[Caseworker]” Heather Horn; “Name Unknown, Inmate
Account Staff;” “Name Unknown, Unit
Administrator;” and “Name Unknown, Mail Room
first alleges that he showed Defendant Horn a letter from the
“U.S. courts” which revealed that he had a
January 30, 2017 deadline to “get a six-month
statement.” Plaintiff states that “inmate
accounts responded back with I need to send Court Papers to
get statement. When I done so inmate accounts made copy of
court papers kept original. Sent me copy and denied me six
next alleges that at the end of January 2017, as he was
preparing a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 form to send “to the
courts, ” Defendant Horn told him “she could fill
out the last page Form C on that packet.” Plaintiff
states that when Defendant Horn did so, she noticed Defendant
Coyne's name on the “court papers.” Plaintiff
alleges that she then entered the office with Defendant Coyne
and that Defendant Coyne asked Plaintiff why Plaintiff was
suing him. Plaintiff claims that this question shows that
Defendants Horn and Coyne read his “court papers”
outside of his presence.
Plaintiff alleges that on February 3, 2017, he was allowed to
read the legal mail he received on this date but was then
required to give it to his unit administrator because he was
not allowed to have it in the special management unit.
Plaintiff further states that he was not allowed to sign the
legal mail log sheet for this piece of mail and that, as of
February 6, 2017, “no one knows” where this piece
of mail is.
relief, Plaintiff seeks punitive damages and injunctive
relief to “suspend staff involved” and
“transfer to another prison where [Plaintiff] can get
proper legal services.”
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).