Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Weller v. Louisville Metro Dept. of Corr.

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

December 13, 2017

AARON WELLER, Plaintiff,
v.
LOUISVILLE METRO DEPT. CORR. et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          David J. Hale, Judge United States District Court.

         This is a pro se civil rights action brought by a pretrial detainee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff Aaron Weller 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, Plaintiff will be allowed to amend his complaint.

         I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff is incarcerated at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC). He brings this action against three LMDC correctional officers in their official capacities - Officer Graydon, Officer Ewald, and Sergeant Phillips.[1]

         Plaintiff alleges that the following occurred on September, 27, 2017:

[Defendant] Graydon advised/instructed me to step in the dorm in which I was housed. I complied. As I was doing so, [Defendant] Graydon initiated contact by pushing me in the dorm. I asked why I was being pushed, then [Defendant] Graydon removed me from the dorm and proceeded to handcuff me, while handcuffing me, [Defendant] Graydon pushes my head into the window of the adjacent dorm. The impact of said action caused damage to two of my front teeth. As an inmate who was not aggressive nor non responsive to the officers orders my right to be free from excessive force by an officer while conducting an inmate removal was violated, and also the right to a safe and threat free environment when for no provocated reason [Defendant] Graydon abused his powers in causing permanent physical damage to my facial structure.
After talking with the sergeant for that shift, [Defendant] Phillips, and pictures were taken, I was given no medical treatment for the damage. I am not sure if [Defendant] Phillips even wrote a report. At the present moment, I still continue to suffer physical pain and no one from the jail has spoken to me about the incident. I'm also claiming that my right to medical attention after receiving injuries from an officer was denied which is resulting in more or extended pain, and that I place squarely on the responsibility of [Defendant] Phillips.

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         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 608 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 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 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).

         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, 48 (1988). “Absent either element, a § 1983 claim will not lie.” Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).

         As written, Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Plaintiff has sued Defendants Graydon, Ewald, and Phillips in their official capacities only. “[O]fficial-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. N.Y. City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691n.55 (1978). Thus, Plaintiff's official-capacity claims against the three Defendants, as employees of LMDC, are actually against their employer, Jefferson County. See, e.g., Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 440 (6th Cir. 2008) (stating that civil rights suit against county clerk of courts in his official capacity was equivalent of suing clerk's employer, the county). When a ยง 1983 claim is made against a municipality, this 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.