United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge
Joshua Bryan Johnson, filed a pro se, in forma
pauperis complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
This matter is before the Court for screening pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114
F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the reasons set
forth below, the complaint will be dismissed in part and
allowed to continue in part, and Plaintiff will be afforded
an opportunity to amend.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
a convicted inmate housed at the Calloway County Jail (CCJ),
sues Jailer Ken Claude in his official capacity. He alleges
that during his nearly sixteen-month stay in CCJ he has not
been given medicine for his severe migraine headaches. He
states that he cannot afford to purchase over-the-counter
medicine from the canteen and that “the nurse and staff
here at Calloway County Jail tell me to purchase them or
don't come to jail.” He states that he has filled
out “several med-call forms to try to get Tylenol or
aspirin put on med care only to be treated like my health
means nothing to the jail.”
also alleges that Dr. Paulis has only seen him one time and
that “the only thing he did was take blood pressure. I
am being denied proper medical care.”
next alleges that “the only incoming mail is in the
form of postcard and the jail makes a copy and throws the
original copy away.” He also states that a
“jailer can deny prisoner to prisoner mail.” He
states that the only form of mailing for outgoing mail is a
postcard. He alleges that this rule violates an inmate's
“right to a proper trial by writing this on a open
postcard where everyone can read.”
relief, Plaintiff asks for monetary damages and “to fix
the mailing procedures.”
prisoner initiates a civil action seeking redress from a
governmental entity, officer, or employee, the trial court
must review the complaint and dismiss the action, 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 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) and (2). 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 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. When determining
whether a plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can
be granted, the Court must construe the complaint in a light
most favorable to Plaintiff and accept all of the factual
allegations as true. Prater v. City of Burnside,
Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). While a
reviewing court must liberally construe pro se
pleadings, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365
(1982) (per curiam), to avoid dismissal, a complaint must
include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
action is brought against an official of a governmental
entity in his official capacity, the suit should be construed
as brought against the governmental entity. Will v. Mich.
Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989). Therefore, in the case at bar, Plaintiff's claim
against Defendant Claud in his official capacity is actually
brought against the Calloway County government. See
Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994).
§ 1983 claim is made against a municipality, like
Calloway County, a court must analyze two distinct issues:
(1) whether the 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
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 v. New York City
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978)
(emphasis in original); 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 Pembaur).
municipality cannot be held responsible for a constitutional
deprivation unless there is a direct causal link between a
municipal policy or custom and the alleged constitutional
deprivation. Monell, 436 U.S. at 691; Deaton v.
Montgomery Cty., Ohio, 989 F.2d 885, 889 (6th Cir.
1993). Simply stated, the plaintiff must “identify the
policy, connect the policy to the city itself and show that
the particular injury was incurred because of the execution
of that policy.” Garner v. Memphis Police
Dep't, 8 F.3d 358, 364 (6th Cir. 1993) (quoting
Coogan v. City of Wixom, 820 F.2d 170, 176 (6th Cir.
1987), overruled on other grounds, Frantz v.
Vill. of Bradford, 245 F.3d 869 (6th Cir. 2001)). The
policy or custom “must be ‘the moving force of
the constitutional violation' in order to establish the
liability of a government body under § 1983.”
Searcy, 38 F.3d at 286 (quoting Polk Cty. v.
Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 326 (1981) (citation omitted));
Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs of Bryan Cty., Okla. v.
Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1997) (indicating that
plaintiff must demonstrate “deliberate conduct”).
the Court finds that Plaintiff has alleged a policy or custom
that is the moving force behind his alleged inability to
obtain medication for his migraines and regarding the postal
restrictions he outlines in his complaint. The Court further
finds that the allegations regarding the lack of medication
and the postal restrictions state constitutional claims.
Because Plaintiff has alleged constitutional violations due
to a custom or policy of CCJ regarding his inability to
obtain medication and ...