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Buckles v. Jensen

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

July 24, 2017



          Joseph H. McKinley, Jr., Chief Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff James Bradley Buckles, a convicted inmate at the Hardin County Detention Center (HCDC), filed the instant pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action proceeding in forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court on initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss some claims and allow others to proceed for further development.


         Plaintiff sues Stacy Jensen, whom Plaintiff identifies as an APRN, which the Court presumes is an Advance Practice Registered Nurse, employed by Southern Health Partners; and Danny Allen, the HCDC Jailer. He sues Jenson in her individual and official capacities and Allen in his official capacity only.

         Plaintiff alleges violations of the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause. He states that from October 2016 to the present Jensen “refused to treat (previously and currently documented) complex migrains which resulted in prolonged pain and suffering.” He states, “This has happened several times. I was treated for these migrains before incarceration. [] Last instance was on or about 2-1-17.” Plaintiff also maintains that from July 2016 to the present Jenson “refused to treat on going symtems of my HIV (such as lesions in adomion area, joint inflamation) causing prolonged pain and suffering.” Plaintiff asserts, “I am treated by Dr. Bill Briggs of the wings clinic at the University of Louisville Hospital. Dr. Briggs has issued several orders that Ms Jenson has never follow resulting in syemtems of my HIV worsening.” He also states, “Dr. Brigg's issued a order for my Hep. C prevention shots in Aug 2016 which I did not receive till Dec 2016 after my person had been expoused to Hepitas.”

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.


         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 complaint, or any portion of it, if the court determines that the complaint 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 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007).

         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)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[A] 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)). “But the district court need not accept a ‘bare assertion of legal conclusions.'” Tackett, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995)). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557).


         The Court construes the complaint as alleging 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims of deliberate indifference to serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         Defendant Allen

         Plaintiff sues Allen in his official capacity only. “Official-capacity 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, 165 (1985) (quoting Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 n.55 (1978)). Suing employees in their official capacities is the equivalent of suing their employer. Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 439-40 (6th Cir. 2008); Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994); Smallwood v. Jefferson Cty. Gov't, 743 F.Supp. 502, 503 (W.D. Ky. 1990). Therefore, the Court construes Plaintiff's official-capacity claim against Allen as brought against his employer, Hardin County.

         When a § 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 is responsible for that violation. Collins v. City of Harker Heights, Tex., 503 U.S. 115, 120 (1992). The Court will first address the ...

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