United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
B. Russell, Judge
Jamal Rashad Crawford, filed a pro se, in forma
pauperis civil-rights 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.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
is a pretrial detainee at the Louisville Metro Department of
Corrections (LMDC). He sues LMDC Classification Supervisor
Katreese Walker in her individual and official capacities. He
also sues LMDC Director Mark Bolton or his designee in his
alleges that Defendant Walker denied him copies of legal
documents, violating his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights. He asserts: “When Katreese Walker instructed
employees of the [LMDC] to deny me copies of foregoing legal
pro se motions which were in the form of a defense within
state court, she denied me Due Process access to the courts
which was in direct violation of my 14th Amendment
right.” He alleges that Defendant Walker has caused him
“to appear in an unprofessional manner before state
court. I'm impacted daily by the humiliation felt. My
motions were said to be an exparte communication being that
copies weren't sent to the proper parties
relief, Plaintiff asks for monetary and punitive damages.
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 the 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).
the complaint refers to the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments,
“[t]o sustain a claim under section 1983 based on
denial of copying privileges, an inmate must show that the
denial prevented him from exercising his constitutional right
of access to the courts.” Kendrick v. Bland,
586 F.Supp. 1536, 1554 (W.D. Ky. 1984). “The First
Amendment protects an inmate's right to access to the
courts, but not necessarily his access to all the legal
assistance or materials he may desire.” Tinch v.
Huggins, No. 99-3436, 2000 WL 178418, at *1 (6th Cir.
Feb. 8, 2000) (citing Walker v. Mintzes, 771 F.2d
920, 932 (6th Cir. 1985)); see also Courtemanche v.
Gregels, 79 F. App'x 115, 117 (6th Cir. 2003)
(“[T]he right of access does not include a per se right
to photocopies in whatever amount a prisoner
order to state a claim for interference with access to the
courts, a plaintiff must show an actual injury.
Thaddeus-X v. Blatter, 175 F.3d 378, 394 (6th Cir.
1999) (en banc). “[A]n inmate cannot establish relevant
actual injury simply by establishing that his prison's
law library or legal assistance program is subpar in some
theoretical sense. That would be the precise analog of the
healthy inmate claiming constitutional violation because of
the inadequacy of the prison infirmary.” Lewis v.
Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351 (1996).
“‘[M]eaningful access to the courts is the
touchstone, ' and the inmate therefore must go one step
further and demonstrate that the alleged shortcomings in the
library or legal assistance program hindered his efforts to
pursue a legal claim.” Id. (internal citations
omitted). “Examples of actual prejudice to pending or
contemplated litigation include having a case dismissed,
being unable to file a complaint, and missing a court-imposed
deadline.” Harbin-Bey v. Rutter, 420 F.3d 571,
578 (6th Cir. 2005).
the Supreme Court has held that “the underlying cause
of action . . . is an element that must be described in the
complaint, just as much as allegations must describe the
official acts frustrating the litigation.”
Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 415 (2002).
The Court held in Christopher that, “[l]ike
any other element of an access claim, the underlying cause of
action and its lost remedy must be addressed by allegations
in the complaint sufficient to give fair notice to a
defendant.” Id. at 416.
present case, Plaintiff fails to allege actual injury or
prejudice to a qualifying pending legal action or state how
any legal action in which he is involved was hindered.
allegation that he felt “humiliation” when his
motions were said to be ex parte does not rise to
the level of a constitutional violation. Accordingly,
Plaintiffs claim that he was denied copies fails to state a
constitutional violation and will be dismissed.