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Shananaquet v. Bolton

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

November 20, 2017

MARK BOLTON, Defendant.


          David J. Hale, United States District Court Judge

         This is a pro se civil rights action brought by a pretrial detainee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court granted Plaintiff Perry Shananaquet leave to proceed in forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons set forth below, the action will be dismissed in part and Plaintiff will be allowed to amend his complaint.


         Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee incarcerated at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC). Plaintiff brings this action against Defendant Mark Bolton, the Director of the LMDC, in his official capacity. Plaintiff states that he is bringing claims against LMDC for “black mold, overcrowdedness, poor ventilation, out of order shower and sink, and violation of the grievance procedure.”

         Plaintiff first complains about his conditions of confinement at LMDC. He alleges that several of the dorms he has been housed in have had showers with visible black mold. Plaintiff states that he has asthma and that this medical condition has escalated “from mild to acute and sometimes results in the use of a nebulizer.” Plaintiff further contends that LMDC has a poor ventilation system clogged with dust which “has caused Plaintiff's asthma to trigger.”

         Plaintiff also alleges that LMDC is overcrowded and that “24 man dorms with 2 showers 3 toilets and 3 sinks” are “over populated by 16-20 and that has caused no access to the dayroom and nowhere for the plaintiff to eat.” Plaintiff claims that these living conditions have caused “emotion distress, threat to safety, lack of sleep, and excessive sleep due to depression.” Plaintiff also states that since living in one specific dorm, “there has only been one shower for 40 people and 2 sinks.” He claims that this has caused “mental anguish, lack of hygiene, and conflict.”

         Plaintiff also states that on August 19, 2017, he was “given a disciplinary report for refusing to follow staffs order.” Plaintiff writes that he was then “classified” to go a specific dorm but that he refused out of fear for his safety. According to Plaintiff, he was then placed in a “hold over cell with no bathroom for 1 hr.” He was then moved to another dorm with “no mat and no boat.” Plaintiff states that he then refused this housing and was placed in another “hold over [cell] with extreme cold air, no sink and no bathroom” until Plaintiff was advised that he had been put back on the list to move to the dorm he had initially refused for “safety purposes.” Plaintiff states that he stayed in the “hold over [cell] for a total of 14 hrs” with no sink and no bathroom. Plaintiff claims that this incident “inflicted extreme mental anguish and sleep deprivation.”

         Finally, Plaintiff claims that LMDC officials are violating LMDC's grievance procedures by failing to timely respond to his grievances and by failing to return his grievances to him with “proper signatures to prove delivered upon receiving a response.”

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks punitive damages.


         Because 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. 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 § 1915A(b)(1), (2); McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 544 U.S. 199 (2007). 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] 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] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). However, while liberal, this standard of review does require more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions. See Columbia Natural 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).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Section 1983 creates no substantive rights but merely provides remedies for deprivations of rights established elsewhere. Flint ex rel. Flint v. Ky. Dep't of Corr., 270 F.3d 340, 351 (6th Cir. 2001). Two elements are required to state a claim under § 1983. Gomez v. Toledo,446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). “A plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins,487 U.S. 42, ...

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