United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
BRANDON R. BRUIN PLAINTIFF
WARDEN RANDY WHITE et al. DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. STIVERS, JUDGE
Brandon R. Bruin, a convicted prisoner at the Kentucky State
Penitentiary (KSP), filed a pro se complaint (DN 1)
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On initial screening of
the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court
allowed the following claims to proceed: Plaintiff's
First Amendment Free Exercise and Fourteenth Amendment Due
Process and Equal Protection claims arising out of the
cutting of his dreadlocks and refusal to allow Plaintiff to
send the cut dreadlocks home against Defendants Charles
Crick, Mitchell, James Smith, Beeler, and White in their
official capacities for injunctive relief and in their
individual capacities for damages and injunctive relief; and
Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment failure-to-protect claim
against Defendants Von Dewingelo, Roberts, and Melton in
their individual capacities for damages.
the filing of the complaint, Plaintiff filed several
amended/supplemental complaints. Currently before the Court
on initial screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A are
Plaintiffs' amended/supplemental complaints contained in
DNs 20, 23 & 26.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
DN 20 nor 23 was filed on a complaint form or indicated the
capacity in which those persons mentioned were sued.
20, Plaintiff wants to add KSP Shift Captain John Gibbs to
the action alleging that Defendant Gibbs authorized a team to
cut Plaintiff's dreadlocks in violation of the First
23, Plaintiff raises three claims: (1) that on May 31, 2016,
August 1, 2016, he was placed on a property and activity
restriction for 24-25 hours in violation of the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments; (2) that his meat-substitute tray for
his “Vegan/Ital Diet” that he observes as a
Rastafarian “contains animal by products and animal.
Eggs, milk, chees, mayonaise etc.” in violation of the
First Amendment; and (3) that on May 31, 2016, Defendant
Mitchell refused Plaintiff's request to contact his
lawyer and that on a couple of occasions, his requests to
contact “the Clerk of the courts via telephone”
have been denied in violation of the First Amendment.
Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages and
declaratory and injunctive relief.
Number 26 was filed on a § 1983 form and contains those
claims asserted in DNs 20 & 23 and additional claims.
Plaintiff names the following fifteen KSP workers as
Defendants in their individual and official capacities: (1)
Captain John Gibbs; (2) Internal Affairs Lt. James Beavers;
(3) Sergeant George Henson; (4) Sergeant H.C. Vinson; (5)
APRN Karen Vickery; (6) Deputy Warden Skyla Grief; (7)
Correctional Officer (CO) Jonathan Ruch; (8) CO Terry
Griffith; (9) Deputy Warden of Security Steven Ford; (10)
Unit Administrator (UA) Darmice Ellis; (11) Case Treatment
Officer (CTO) Marshall Peek; (12) UA Troy Belt; (13) RN
Charles “‘Aaron'” Davis; (14) Lt. Jesse
Jenkins; and (15) Dr. Shastine Tangilag. Plaintiff seeks
monetary and punitive damages and an injunction to
“cease the taking of inmates personal property as mean
of punishment with procedural due process.” The Court
also construes the pleading as seeking injunctions ordering a
“Vegan/Ital Diet” for Plaintiff and ordering
treatment for Plaintiff's high blood pressure.
Claim I, Plaintiff alleges that on April 7, 2016, when
processed into KSP's Restricted Housing Unit (RHU), he
informed “security and medical personnel” that he
“adheres to an ital (vegan diet) due to religious
beliefs as a practitioner of the Rastafarian Religious
Group.” He claims that he has been denied that diet by
Defendants Melton, Griffith, White, and Davis in violation of
the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
(RLUIPA). He also reports going on a religious fast for
several days in August 2016.
Claim II, Plaintiff asserts that the shearing of his
dreadlocks also violates RLUIPA and brings this claim against
Defendant White, Belt, Mitchell, Grief, Melton, Griffith,
Gibbs, Beeler, Crick, and James Smith.
Claim III, Plaintiff alleges Eighth Amendment violations on
two occasions. First, Plaintiff alleges that on May 31, 2016,
Defendants Belt, Mitchell, James Smith, and Beeler
“stripped Plaintiff of Life Necessities. ie. Blanket,
Sheets, socks, t-shirt, pants, Uniform Shirt, shower shoes,
running water and a working toilet. Plaintiff was forced to
endure life in a cell with self a mattress and tempatures at
appr'x of 55˚. This occured at 10:30 a.m.”
Plaintiff claims that at 3:30 p.m., while “Shivering
uncontrollably, ” he asked Defendant Henson if he could
have clothing or a blanket and that Defendant Henson told him
to take it up with whomever took the items. Plaintiff reports
that on the following day, June 1, at or around 11:00 a.m.,
Defendant Smith returned Plaintiff's state-issued
property to him. Plaintiff claims that he was forced to eat
breakfast and lunch without washing his hands. Second,
Plaintiff alleges that from June 28 until July 5, he was not
afforded the opportunity to shower over a seven-day period.
Plaintiff claims that Defendants Von Dwingelo and Henson
denied his requests for showers during that period.
Claim IV, Plaintiff reports that Defendants Belt, Mitchell,
Beeler, Peek, Roberts,  and Ellis denied him access to the
courts when they denied his requests to call his attorney and
the Clerk of Court.
titles Claim V as “Deliberate Indifference and
exsposure to a serious risk of harm, ” but he also
seems to allege a retaliation claim. He alleges that on
“July 28, 2016 after gaining knowledge Plaintiff was
assisting and recieving legal help while on 14 Right walk,
three cell house RHU as a form of reprisal of protected
conduct [Defendant] Jesse Jenkins delegated Plaintiff to be
moved from a lower range from which he currently resided to
an upper-range to 13 Right walk 3 cell house  cell 15 above
14 Right Walk.” Plaintiff maintains that he could still
“communicate by yelling aloud to inmates on 14
walk” and that when Defendant Jenkins became aware, he
said that Plaintiff was suicidal. Plaintiff maintains that
because of this, he was moved back to a “lower
range” and stripped of all property as authorized by
Defendant Jenkins. Plaintiff claims that he was placed five
cells down from an inmate with whom he had a documented
conflict; thus, Defendant Jenkins placed him in
“substantial risk of harm and injury.” Plaintiff
states that two days later on July 30, he was taken off of
property restriction and denied the offer of recreation.
Plaintiff reports that on August 1, he informed the
psychologist of “Defendant Jenkins Machination”
and that the psychologist had the inmate with whom Plaintiff
had the conflict moved.
Claim VI, Plaintiff alleges “Theft and Breach of
Privleged Correspondence.” He alleges an incident on
July 30/August 1, 2016,  wherein legal mail was forcibly taken
from him after a cell extraction by Defendants Beeler,
Griffith, and Ruch.
Claim VII, Plaintiff continues that after the cell extraction
in Claim VI, Defendants Ruch and Griffith used excessive
force in obtaining the legal mail and that Defendant Davis
would not treat his injuries of bloody ankles, a bulge in the
left shoulder, and “swollen and hurting” wrists.
titles Claim VIII as “Neglect to a Serious Medical
Need.” He claims that after the cell-extraction
incident, he was taken on August 2 to “Medical, ”
where he was seen by Defendants Tangilag and Davis. He states
that his main concerns were lower back pain and “left
arm functioning” but that Defendant Tangilag
“merely looked at Plaintiff, checked [his] vitals and
prescribed ice and Ibuprofin for seven (7) days. Defendant
Griffith informed Defendant Tangilag the incident was
recorded and Defendant Tangilag responded: ‘it
does'nt look broke or fractured to me.'”
Plaintiff also alleges that from April 7, 2016, to August 20,
2016, he had high blood pressure readings of “stroke
level” that Defendants Davis, Vickery, and Tangilag
“neglected to treat until Plaintiff Request treatment
due to constant headaches, chest pain and blurred
vision.” He also claims that on August 20, 2016, he
stated by sick-call form to Defendant Davis, “‘Im
on clonidine, I need to be taken off and placed on a blood
pressure pill that can co-exist with psyc.
recommendations.'” On August 22, Defendant Davis
prescribed Lisinopril, and the next day, Defendant Vickery
co-signed Defendant Davis' recommendation against
Plaintiff's request to be placed on a medication that can
co-exist with current medication. Plaintiff states that on
both August 24 and 26, he lost consciousness after receiving
clonidine and lisinopril. Plaintiff reports that lisinopril
was discontinued and that his blood pressure is untreated. He
claims that he continues to lose consciousness and has
migraine headaches, loss of vision, and tingling in his
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. See
McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir.
1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock,
549 U.S. 199 (2007). 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 §
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.
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)). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation ...