United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCKINLEY, JR., CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Donald Eugene Williams, II, filed a pro se, in
forma pauperis complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. 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 reasons set forth below, the
complaint will be dismissed in part and allowed to continue
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
a convicted inmate housed at the Henderson County Detention
Center (HCDC), sues Deputy Kyle Dame of the Union County
Sheriff's Department and Officer Chad Vos of the
Morganfield Kentucky Police Department in both their
individual and official capacities. He alleges that on
November 7, 2016, he was fleeing from Defendants when he was
tased in his back and the back of his head causing him
“to fall and shatter multiple bones in face, missing
teeth, and multiple surgeries.” He alleges that
Defendants used excessive force by deploying two different
tasers. He states, “By them tasing me in the location
they did I fell down an embankment, that much force was not
deemed in the accounts of my crime while fleeing on
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).
action is brought against an official of a governmental
entity in his official capacity, the suit should be construed
as brought against the governmental entity. Will v. Mich.
Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
Therefore, in the case at bar, Plaintiff's claim against
Defendants Dame and Vos in their official capacity is
actually brought against the Union County government and the
Morganfield, Kentucky, government respectively. See
Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994).
§ 1983 claim is made against a municipality, a court
must analyze two distinct issues: (1) whether the
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 address the issues in reverse order.
municipality cannot be held liable solely because it
employs a tortfeasor - or, in other words, a municipality
cannot be held liable under § 1983 on a respondeat
superior theory.” Monell v. New York City
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978)
(emphasis in original); Searcy v. City of Dayton, 38
F.3d 282, 286 (6th Cir. 1994); Berry v. City of
Detroit, 25 F.3d 1342, 1345 (6th Cir. 1994).
“[T]he touchstone of ‘official policy' is
designed ‘to distinguish acts of the
municipality from acts of employees of the
municipality, and thereby make clear that municipal liability
is limited to action for which the municipality is actually
responsible.'” City of St. Louis v.
Praprotnik, 485 U.S. 112, 138 (1988) (quoting
Pembaur v. Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 479-80 (1986))
(emphasis in Pembaur).
municipality cannot be held responsible for a constitutional
deprivation unless there is a direct causal link between a
municipal policy or custom and the alleged constitutional
deprivation. Monell, 436 U.S. at 691; Deaton v.
Montgomery Cty., Ohio, 989 F.2d 885, 889 (6th Cir.
1993). Simply stated, the plaintiff must “identify the
policy, connect the policy to the city itself and show that
the particular injury was incurred because of the execution
of that policy.” Garner v. Memphis Police
Dep't, 8 F.3d 358, 364 (6th Cir. 1993) (quoting
Coogan v. City of Wixom, 820 F.2d 170, 176 (6th Cir.
1987), overruled on other grounds, Frantz v.
Vill. of Bradford, 245 F.3d 869 (6th Cir. 2001)). The
policy or custom “must be ‘the moving force of
the constitutional violation' in order to establish the
liability of a government body under § 1983.”
Searcy, 38 F.3d at 286 (quoting Polk Cty. v.
Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 326 (1981) (citation omitted));
Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs of Bryan Cty., Okla. v.
Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1997) (indicating that
plaintiff must demonstrate “deliberate conduct”).
Plaintiff has not alleged that a policy or custom of either
Union County government or the Morganfield, Kentucky,
government caused his alleged harm. Thus, he fails to state a
claim against Defendants in their official-capacities.
Accordingly, the claims against Defendants in their official
capacities will be dismissed.
review, the Court will allow Plaintiffs individual-capacity
claims of excessive force against Defendants to go forward.
foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that the
§ 1983 claims against Defendants in their official
capacities are DISMISSED pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) for ...