United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKinley, Jr., Chief Judge
a civil rights action brought by a former inmate pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff 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, but Plaintiff will be allowed to amend his
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against the Kentucky
Department of Corrections (KDOC); the Todd County Detention
Center (TCDC); and TCDC Major Dunning. Plaintiff does not
indicate whether he is suing Major Dunning in her official or
alleges that on the day he was being transported from the
TCDC to Louisville, Defendant Dunning insisted that he take
off his Todd County jumpsuit even though Plaintiff told
Defendant Dunning that he had nothing else to wear. Plaintiff
states that Defendant Dunning “didn't give a damn
what I left in.” Plaintiff further states that the
Jefferson County Sheriff did not want to transport Plaintiff
in his boxers but had no choice because he had “four
other stops” to make. Plaintiff writes that although he
pleaded with Defendant Dunning not to make him leave the jail
in his boxers, she “laughed and smirked with remarks
and thought it was funny.” Plaintiff states that his
transport to Louisville took three hours and that he was
“boxed in with other inmates with clothing and
embarrassed at every stop.” As relief, Plaintiff seeks
compensatory damages and requests that Defendant Dunning be
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 608 (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)).
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 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).
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, 48 (1988).
“Absent either element, a § 1983 claim will not
lie.” Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504
(6th Cir. 1991).
DEFENDANT KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
Court first notes that Plaintiff does not make any specific
allegations against the KDOC in his complaint. However, even
if he had, his claim against the KDOC would fail because the
KDOC is an agency of the Commonwealth. Under the Eleventh
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a state and its agencies
may not be sued in federal court, regardless of the relief
sought, unless the state has waived its immunity or Congress
has overridden it. Puerto Rico Aqueduct and
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. 781, 782 (1978). The Commonwealth of
Kentucky has not waived its immunity, see Adams v.
Morris, 90 Fed.Appx. 856, 857 (6th Cir. 2004), and in
enacting § 1983, Congress did not intend to override the
traditional sovereign immunity of the states. Whittington
v. Milby, 928 F.2d 188, 193-94 (6th Cir. 1991) (citing
Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 341 (1979)).
“[T]he Eleventh Amendment is a true jurisdictional
bar” to such claims. Russell v.
Lundergan-Grimes, 784 F.3d 1037, 1046 (6th Cir. 2015).
Thus, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's claim against
the KDOC for failure to state to a claim upon which relief
may be granted.
DEFENDANT TODD ...