United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. Hale, Judge United States District Court.
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.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
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.
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
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages.
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).
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).
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).
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 § 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 ...