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Odom v. Kelley

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

July 14, 2017

GLENN D. ODOM, II, Plaintiff,
KIMBERLY KELLEY et al., Defendants.


          David J. Hale, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff, Glenn D. Odom, II, 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.


         Plaintiff is a convicted inmate currently incarcerated at the Little Sandy Correctional Complex. However, the allegations in his complaint concern his prior incarceration at the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR). He names as Defendants the following employees of KSR: Sergeant Kimberly Kelley; Lieutenant Deanna Hawkins; Disciplinary Hearing Lieutenant Walter Wetzel; and Warden Aaron Smith.

         Plaintiff alleges that on January 30, 2016, Defendant Kelley sprayed him with Oleoresin Capsicum (O.C.) spray when he dropped a cup of milk in his cell. He alleges that his eyes were flushed with saline but he was not allowed to shower. He states that Defendant Kelley stripped him of all of his clothing and put him in a “max. cell” with no mattress, clothing, or running water. He alleges that he was “forced to be nude in front of female staff and nurses - as well as [15] other inmates for several days.” He states that a disciplinary report was brought against him stating that three employees were injured when they were hit by an unknown liquid (believed to be semen and water). He alleges violations of his Eighth Amendment rights for being sprayed with O.C. and for being left “naked for days permitting inmates and female staff to see, ” as well as violations of his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights and equal protection rights for unlawful disciplinary proceedings.

         Plaintiff attaches several documents as exhibits. Included is the disciplinary report form regarding the incident in January 2016, in which Plaintiff was “found guilty of a category 7-01 - physical action against an employee or non-Inmate.” That form noted that Plaintiff was assigned to disciplinary segregation for 90 days and lost 180 days of good-time credit.

         As relief, Plaintiff asks for: a declaration that the acts and omissions described in his complaint violate his rights; compensatory and punitive damages against Defendant Kelley; injunctive relief in the form of ordering Defendant Smith to allow inmates to shower after O.C. contamination; and a dismissal of Plaintiff's disciplinary conviction and report.

         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. Injunctive and declarative relief

         Because Plaintiff has been transferred from KSR, his claims for injunctive and declarative relief are moot. See Kensu v. Haigh, 87 F.3d 172, 175 (6th Cir. 1996) (“[T]o the extent Kensu seeks declaratory and injunctive relief his claims are now moot as he is no longer confined to the institution that searched his mail.”).

         Additionally, Plaintiff's claims regarding the alleged unlawful disciplinary proceedings would have to be dismissed even if Plaintiff was still housed at KSR. His allegations regarding the disciplinary proceedings fail to state a claim for which relief may be granted because they are not cognizable under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). The Heck Court held:

in order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a . . . plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such a determination, or called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

Id. at 486-87 (footnote omitted). The favorable-termination requirement of Heck applies to prisoner allegations of due process violations in prison discipline hearings that result in the deprivation of good-time credits. Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 648 (1997). The Heck and Edwards bar applies no ...

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