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Golliday v. Causey

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green

December 13, 2017



          Greg N. Stivers, Judge United States District Court.

         Plaintiffs Christopher Maynard Golliday, Dominique Cordell Wallace, and Brad Justin Weeks initiated this action by filing a pro se civil rights complaint. Plaintiffs Wallace and Weeks have been terminated as parties to this action. The sole remaining Plaintiff is Plaintiff Golliday (hereinafter referred to as “Plaintiff”). This matter is now 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 following reasons, some of Plaintiff's claims will be dismissed and some will be allowed to proceed, and Plaintiff will be given the opportunity to amend his complaint.


         Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the Warren County Regional Jail (WCRJ). He names as Defendants WCRJ Deputy Jailer Misse Causey; WCRJ Jailer Stephen Harmon; and WCRJ officers Elizabeth Weissinger, Joshua Mills, and Randall Lile. He names all Defendants in their official and individual capacities.

         Plaintiff states that after moving to WCRJ Pod A-1 on December 2, 2016, he “started breaking out around [his] neck and back.” He states that he filled out several medical forms to request to see the doctor/nurse, but all “they” did was give him some anti-fungal cream after “the fifth or sixth medical request” around May 23, 2017. He states that he saw a “med-tech” not a nurse or doctor. He alleges that he then began having “breathing issues and stayed sick from the ceiling in A-1 from a lot of black mold.” According to Plaintiff, the mold forms on the shower ceiling due to poor ventilation. He states that he filed multiple grievances about the mold but “[t]hey never give us proper equipment to clean the mold off, plus I'm allergic to mold.” He asserts:

It got so bad that I had to stop taking showers as often as I was. The staff threatened to take the T.V. and phone if we didn't clean it (the mold on the ceiling). So I started cleaning it myself, then paying other inmates to clean the bathroom. The break-outs has caused permanent scars on my neck. All Misse Causey does is tell us to clean it with the watered down bleach. . . They said that they don't issue pure bleach to us. . . . All 12 people in the pod were willing to clean, but when we asked for things to protect our head, face, eyes, and neck we were denied.

         As relief, Plaintiff asks for monetary and punitive damages, dismissal of misdemeanor charges in Warren County, and “30 for 30 on remander of my federal sentence.”


         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 at 604.

         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)). “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).

         A. Official-capacity claims

         “Official-capacity suits . . . ‘generally represent [ ] another way of pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is an agent.'” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985) (quoting Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 n.55 (1978)). Plaintiff's official-capacity claims against Defendants, therefore, are actually against their employer, Warren County. See Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 440 (6th Cir. 2008) (stating that civil-rights suit against county clerk of court in his official capacity was equivalent of suing clerk's employer, the county). “[I]n an official-capacity suit the entity's ‘policy or custom' must have played a part in the violation of federal law.” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. at 166 (quoting Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. at 694); Alkire v. Irving, 330 F.3d 802, 815 (6th Cir. 2003) (“[T]o demonstrate municipal liability, [a plaintiff] must (1) identify the municipal policy or custom, (2) connect the policy to the municipality, and (3) show that his particular injury was incurred due to execution of that policy.”).

         Plaintiff alleges a WCRJ policy or custom of not issuing sufficient cleaning agents to remove black mold. On initial review, the Court will allow the complaint to continue against Defendants in their official capacities for this claim.

         B. ...

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