United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
TARRIKE T. RAMIREZ PLAINTIFF
SOUTHERN HEALTH PARTNERS DEFENDANT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Tarrike T. Ramirez, a convicted inmate incarcerated in the
Hardin County Detention Center (HCDC), filed a pro
se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Southern Health Partners (SHP). He alleges that he is being
denied medical treatment for a skin condition in violation of
the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiff
seeks damages, and the Court also construes his complaint as
seeking an injunction ordering medical treatment.
Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental
entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must perform
an initial review of the complaint under 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. Under § 1915A, the trial court must review 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 601 (6th Cir. 1997),
overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549
U.S. 199 (2007).
sues only one Defendant - SHP. “It is clear that a
private entity which contracts with the state to perform a
traditional state function such as providing medical services
to prison inmates may be sued under § 1983 as one acting
‘under color of state law.'” Hicks v.
Frey, 992 F.2d 1450, 1458 (6th Cir. 1993) (quoting
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 54 (1988)). SHP
apparently has contracted with HCDC to provide medical
services to inmates. For purposes of initial review, the
Court presumes that SHP is a state actor. A private
corporation, like SHP, “is not liable under § 1983
for torts committed by its employees when such liability is
predicated solely upon a theory of respondeat
superior.” Austin v. Paramount Parks, Inc.,
195 F.3d 715, 728 (4th Cir. 1999). Rather, a private
corporation is liable under § 1983 only when an official
policy or custom of the corporation causes the alleged
deprivation of federal rights. See Street v. Corr. Corp.
of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 818 (6th Cir. 1996)
(“Monell involved a municipal corporation, but
every circuit to consider the issue has extended the holding
to private corporations as well.”).
§ 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 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, 436 U.S. at
691; 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 original). To demonstrate
municipal liability, a plaintiff “must (1) identify the
municipal policy or custom, (2) connect the policy to the
municipality, and (3) show that his particular injury was
incurred due to execution of that policy.” Alkire
v. Irving, 330 F.3d 802, 815 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing
Garner v. Memphis Police Dep't, 8 F.3d 358, 364
(6th Cir. 1993)).
instant case, Plaintiff does not allege that his harm was
caused by a policy or custom of SHP, and none of the
allegations in his complaint indicate that Plaintiff was
injured as a result of a policy or custom implemented or
endorsed by SHP. Plaintiff, therefore, fails to establish a
basis of liability against SHP and fails to state a
cognizable § 1983 claim against that Defendant. For
these reasons, the claims against SHP will be dismissed.
dismissing the action, however, the Court will provide
Plaintiff with an opportunity to amend the complaint to name
as Defendants those individuals he alleges denied him medical
treatment,  to sue them in their individual capacity,
and to describe how each Defendant purportedly violated the
Eighth Amendment. See LaFountain v. Harry, 716 F.3d
944, 951 (6th Cir. 2013) (“[U]nder Rule 15(a) a
district court can allow a plaintiff to amend his complaint
even when the complaint is subject to dismissal under the
PLRA [Prison Litigation Reform Act].”).
foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that the
claims against Southern Health Partners are
DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b)(1) for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that within 30
days from the entry date of this Memorandum
Opinion and Order, Plaintiff may amend the complaint to name
as Defendants any officers/employees/medical staff allegedly
involved in the denial of medical treatment at the HCDC, to
sue them in their individual capacity, and to describe what
each Defendant allegedly did to violate his rights. The
Court will perform an initial review under § 1915A on
the amended complaint.
Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to place the
instant case number and word “Amended” on a
§ 1983 complaint form and send it, along with six blank
summons forms, to Plaintiff for his use should he wish to
amend the complaint.
Plaintiff file no amended complaint within 30 days, the Court
will enter a final Order dismissing the entire action for the
reasons stated herein.