United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division
ROBERT LEE THOMAS, JR. PLAINTIFF
KENTUCKY'S STATE GUARDIAN SYSTEM DEFENDANT
GREG N. STIVERS, JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Robert Lee Thomas, Jr., proceeding pro se, filed a
complaint (DN 1) on his own paper. Subsequently, the Clerk of
Court sent Plaintiff a deficiency notice which, in part,
directed Plaintiff to resubmit this action on the appropriate
form. Thereafter, Plaintiff filed this action on a 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 form (DN 4). The complaint (DNs 1 & 4) is
before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2) and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d
601, 608 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the reasons that
follow, this action will be dismissed.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
describes himself as being “disabled” and
“[t]ormented.” Plaintiff names “Kentuckys
State Guardian System” as the sole Defendant in this
action. In his complaint, Plaintiff states that he
“asked for state guardianship which was a big mistake.
Thier incompetence is unbearable. I thought I'd get
better care than the county where ‘crack' was
invented-McCRACKEN County.” Plaintiff states that he
has had four guardians. According to Plaintiff, “[t]he
first guardian appointed by McCracken County Court in Paducah
made my $2, 000.00 disappear right after he said on the phone
to come and get it . . . .” This first guardian,
Plaintiff complains, “didnt even get my rent
subsidized.” Plaintiff states that the second guardian
“went out of business to go back to school or
something, and made my valuable 1937 dollar bill disappear .
. . .” According to Plaintiff, the third guardian
“promised to put ALL of my belongings in storage if I
went with them, which they did not . . . [she did] more harm
than good . . . they ALL lied to me, approx. $7, 000.00 work
of damages.” Plaintiff further states that the third
guardian lost the only pictures of Plaintiff's mother and
“left [Plaintiff's] $1, 700.00 motor
scooter.” According to Plaintiff, the fourth and
present guardian “is holding me back from getting an
apt. issued to me . . . he said its because I write letters
to federal authorities trying to have them
investigated.” Further, Plaintiff states that
“[t]hey took away my established apartment and have me
doing time in a mental institution overflow facility.”
As relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages, “FREEDOM
FROM GUARDIANSHIP, ” and a “subsidized rent
STANDARD OF REVIEW
review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), a district court
must dismiss a case at any time if it 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 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)).
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)). “But the district
court need not accept a ‘bare assertion of legal
conclusions.'” Tackett v. M & G Polymers,
USA, LLC, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting Columbia Nat.
Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir.
1995)). The court's duty “does not require [it] to
conjure up unpled allegations, ” McDonald v.
Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a
claim for a plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l
Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir.
1975). To command otherwise would require the Court “to
explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro
se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the district
court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role
of an advocate seeking out the strongest arguments and most
successful strategies for a party.” Beaudett v.
City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
42, United States Code, Section 1983 creates no substantive
rights, but merely provides remedies for deprivations of
rights established elsewhere. As such, it has two basic
requirements: (1) the deprivation of federal statutory or
constitutional rights by (2) a person acting under
color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988); Flint v. Ky. Dep't of Corr., 270 F.3d
340, 351 (6th Cir. 2001). Plaintiff does not bring this
action against a person, but against “Kentuckys State
Guardian System.” Thus, this § 1983 action fails.
“Kentucky's Public guardianship program is
administered by the Division of Guardianship in the Cabinet
for Health and Family Services.” See
http://chfs.ky.gov/dail/guardianship.htm. Even if the
Court were to construe this action as being brought against
the Cabinet for Health and Family Services
(“Cabinet”), it fails.
and its agencies are not “persons” subject to
suit under § 1983. Will v. Mich. Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989); see also Sefa v.
Kentucky, 510 F. App'x 435, 437 (6th Cir. 2013)
(“The Cabinet [for Health and Family Services] is not a
‘person' subject to suit under section
1983.”). Additionally, a state and its agencies may not
be sued in federal court, regardless of the relief sought,
unless the state has waived its sovereign immunity under the
Eleventh Amendment or Congress has overridden it. Puerto
Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Auth. v. Metcalf & Eddy,
Inc., 506 U.S. 139, 146 (1993); Pennhurst State Sch.
& Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 124 (1984);
Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 78l, 782 (l978). In
enacting § l983, Congress did not intend to override the
traditional sovereign immunity of the states. Whittington
v. Milby, 928 F.2d l88, 193-94 (6th Cir. 1991) (citing
Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 341 (l979)). Thus,
the Eleventh Amendment acts as a bar to all claims for relief
against the Cabinet. See Sefa v. Kentucky, 510 F.
App'x at 437 (“Because Kentucky has not waived its
Eleventh Amendment immunity and Congress has not abrogated
state sovereign immunity under sections 1981 and 1983 . . .
[plaintiffs] claims against the Cabinet cannot
this action will be dismissed by separate Order.
'The Judicial power of the United
States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or
equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United
States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or
Subjects of any Foreign State.” U.S. Const. amend. XI.
“While the Amendment by its terms does not bar suits
against a State by its own citizens, [the Supreme Court] has
consistently held that an unconsenting State is immune from
suits brought in federal courts by ...