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Scott v. Henderson

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

August 16, 2017

JOSHUA DANIEL SCOTT PLAINTIFF
v.
TOMMY HENDERSON et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          GREG N. STIVERS, JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Plaintiff Joshua Daniel Scott, a prisoner incarcerated in the Fulton County Detention Center (FCDC), filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (DN 1). The complaint is before the Court for initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the reasons that follow, the Court will dismiss the official-capacity claims and allow the Eighth Amendment individual-capacity claims to proceed.

         I. SUMMARY OF CLAIMS

         Plaintiff identifies the following three Defendants in the complaint: (1) Tommy Henderson, an employee of the City of Hickman; (2) Jeff Johnson, Chief Deputy Jailer for the FCDC; and (3) Carroll Powell, Acting Jailer for the FCDC. Plaintiff indicates that he is suing Defendants in both their individual and official capacities. He seeks monetary damages and “to be seen by medical staff other than the Medical Dept. at Fulton County Jail.”

         According to Plaintiff, on or about January 12, 2017, he “was in a accident which hurt [his] back and wrist real bad.” Plaintiff states that Defendant Henderson “ran the bus he was driving off the road.” Plaintiff states that Defendant Henderson denied Plaintiff “medical treatment by refusing to call the police instead he calls [Defendant Johnson] at the jail and [Defendant Johnson] comes to the accident and picks [Plaintiff] up without contacting police of the accident.”

         According to Plaintiff, Defendant Johnson placed Plaintiff “in his car and instead of taking [Plaintiff] to the hospital he takes [Plaintiff] back to the jail.” Plaintiff states that he told Defendant Johnson that he was hurt and needed medical attention, but Defendant Johnson “ignored [Plaintiff] and [Plaintiff] was given a urine test and once [Plaintiff] passed was seen by medical staff at the jail.” Plaintiff states that Defendant Powell “was told of the accident and has still refused to have [Plaintiff] seen by medical staff other than the jails medical so she has denied me proper medical care.”

         Plaintiff asserts that “[t]his whole situation has been covered up any time a accident happens the police must make a report of it this never happen because [Defendant Henderson] failed a drug test and lost his job so he must have been high at the time of the accident.” According to Plaintiff, his “civil rights as a inmate have been violated and still are the medical staff at the jail hasn't x-rayed [his] back or wrist or anything, its clear a cover up is going on why would a police report not be made in such a situation . . . .”

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Because 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 608.

         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 trial 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. 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] 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 v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting Columbia Nat. 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).

         III. LEGAL ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff fails to state what constitutional rights he believes have been violated. The Eighth Amendment requires “prison officials [to] ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care, and must ‘take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates.'” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994) (quoting Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 526-27 (1984)). Accordingly, the Court construes the complaint as alleging claims under the Eighth Amendment.

         A. ...


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