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Thome v. Bevin

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

August 24, 2017

THOMAS THOME PLAINTIFF
v.
MATT BEVIN et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge United States District Court.

         Pro se Plaintiff, Thomas Thome, filed the instant action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court must undertake a preliminary review of the complaint. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e); 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 action will be dismissed in part and allowed to continue in part.

         I. SUMMARY OF CLAIMS

         Plaintiff was a state inmate at the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR). He states that he was released on April 29, 2016, from KSR “upon a serve out of his imposed sentence on conditional discharge.” He alleges that his constitutional rights were violated because he was not released from custody at that time but was instead sent to Transitions Halfway House in Newport, Kentucky. Plaintiff names as Defendants Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky; unknown Defendants in the Governor's Office; Rodney Ballard, Commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC); James Erwin, KDOC Deputy Commissioner; Aaron Smith, Warden of the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR); Anna Valentine, KSR Deputy Warden; Ronyell Shirley, KSR Re-Entry Program Administrator; Ms. Williams and Hilary Rucker, both KSR Re-Entry/Records specialists; Kimberly Thompson, KSR Unit Administrator; Ben Mitchell, KSR Assistant Unit Administrator; Josephine Jacovino and Robert Bearden, both KSR case treatment officers; unknown Defendants in the Department of Probation and Parole; and Cassandra West and Nicole Wilder, both Probation and Parole Officers. His claims are brought against Defendants in both their individual and official capacities.

         Plaintiff alleges that his constitutional rights were continuously violated at the Transitions Halfway House until he was transferred to another halfway house located in Louisville, Kentucky. He specifically alleges that he “continually was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, mental and emotional distress and the unnessary and wanton infliction of pain all in violation of Plaintiff's rights under his 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th Amendments . . . under color of law.” He alleges that Defendants Shirley and Williams knew or should have known that he had “served out his sentence on conditional discharge and was to be released from state custody without further supervision as the record reflects” but that they allowed Plaintiff to remain in state custody for at least 43 days past his serve out. He also alleges that Defendants Rucker, Thompson, Mitchell, Jacovino, Bearden, West, and Wilder failed to ensure that he was released without supervision despite being presented with documentation to that effect.

         As relief, Plaintiff asks for damages and injunctive relief in the form of establishment of a board to oversee all divisions of agencies involved in the release of prisoners.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, this Court must review the instant action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d at 608. Upon review, this Court must dismiss a case at any time if the Court determines that the action 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). 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 merit less 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 the plaintiff and accept all of the factual allegations as true. Prater v. City of Burnside, Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). A complaint, or portion thereof, should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted “only if it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief.” Brown v. Bargery, 207 F.3d 863, 867 (6th Cir. 2000). 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. REQUEST FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

         The only injunctive relief that Plaintiff seeks is the establishment of a board to oversee all divisions of agencies involved in the release of prisoners. Because Plaintiff is no longer a prisoner, his request for injunctive relief is moot. See Kensu v. Haigh, 87 F.3d 172, 175 (6th Cir. 1996). Nor can Plaintiff request this relief on behalf of current prisoners. Unlicensed laymen, like Plaintiff, cannot represent anyone other than themselves in court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1654; Eagle Assocs. v. Bank of Montreal, 926 F.2d 1305, 1308 (2d Cir. 1991). The claim for injunctive relief will be dismissed.

         B. REQUEST FOR DAMAGES

         1. Official-capacity claims

         Section 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, 640 (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. ...


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