United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green
JOHN WILLIS MARTIN, JR. PLAINTIFF
LYNN GRAY et al. DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Judge
John Willis Martin, Jr., a convicted prisoner currently
incarcerated in the Graves County Jail, filed a pro
se complaint (DN 1) and supplemental complaint (DN 10)
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging claims arising
during his detention as a convicted prisoner at the Warren
County Regional Jail (WCRJ). This matter is before the Court
on initial review of the complaint and supplemental complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons that
follow, the Eighth Amendment claims regarding Plaintiff's
tooth extraction and post-extraction treatment shall continue
against Defendants Gray and Smith in their individual
capacity for damages; all other claims will be dismissed.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
complaint, as Defendants, Plaintiff names (1) Lynn Gray, LPN,
at Southern Health Partners (SHP); and (2) Jason Smith,
dentist at WCRJ. He sues Defendants Gray and Smith in their
individual and official capacities. In the supplemental
complaint, as Defendants, Plaintiff names (1) Nurse Gray at
WCRJ/SHP, in her official capacity; and (2) WCRJ. In
construing the pleadings in a light most favorable to the
pro se Plaintiff, as this Court must, the Court
concludes that Defendants in this action are Defendants Gray
and Smith in their individual and official capacities and the
complaint and supplemental complaint, Plaintiff complains of
a painful tooth extraction in March 2017 and a failure to
adequately treat his post-extraction tooth pain and open
wound, despite complaining of “unbearable” pain.
supplemental complaint, Plaintiff additionally complains that
on one occasion he “went to the hoe at 11:30 am for
disrupting count and had to do 24 hours in there”; that
while there, “they pressure washed the detox room which
is next door”; and that “at 4:10 am Saturday
morning they woke us up to do the side we were on and made us
go to the detox side which was still wet and had puddles and
took our mats at 7:00 am and made us sit or lay down on a wet
floor.” He reports requesting “oranges”
with no response.
relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary and punitive damages and
injunctive relief effectively in the form of being
transferred from WCRJ.
Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental
entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must review
the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under §
1915A, the 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 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997),
overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549
U.S. 199 (2007).
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 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 of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it
tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of
‘further factual enhancement.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555, 557).
Claims Against WCRJ and Official-Capacity Claims Against
Defendants Gray and Smith
WCRJ is not a “person” subject to suit under
§ 1983 because municipal departments, such as jails, are
not suable under § 1983. Marbry v. Corr. Med.
Servs., No. 99-6706, 2000 WL 1720959, at *2 (6th Cir.
Nov. 6, 2000) (holding that a jail is not an entity subject
to suit under § 1983); see also Rhodes v.
McDannel, 945 F.2d 117, 120 (6th Cir. 1991) (holding
that a police department may not be sued under § 1983).
In this situation, Warren County is the proper Defendant.
See Smallwood v. Jefferson Cty. Gov't, 743
F.Supp. 502, 503 (W.D. Ky. 1990).
Warren County is a “person” for purposes of
§ 1983. See Monell v. New York City Dept. of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978).
the official-capacity claims against Defendants Gray and
Smith, to the extent that they are employed by WCRJ, also are
construed as brought against Warren County. Kentucky v.
Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165-66 (1985)
(“Official-capacity suits . . .‘generally
represent  another way of pleading an action against ...