United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND
B. Russell, Senior Judge Defendants United States District.
Thomas Mchenry Price, who is incarcerated in the Fulton
County Detention Center (FCDC), filed a pro se
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is
before the Court on initial review of the complaint pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons that follow, the
complaint will be dismissed, but Plaintiff will be given an
opportunity to file an amended complaint.
brings suit against FCDC Deputy Guard Rick Brewer and the
FCDC. He does not indicate in which capacity(ies) he sues
Defendant Brewer. As his statement of his claims, Plaintiff
alleges that while Defendant Brewer was driving the property
truck, Plaintiff “was riding passenger side of the
truck in the back while legs Hanging off he ramed me into
side of building twisted me off the truck and pinned me in
between truck and building.” Plaintiff states that he
received “a spinal and leg injury”; that
Defendant Brewer refused him medical treatment until another
FCDC employee became concerned for Plaintiff; and that the
second time he went to medical, he was billed. He asserts
that he has been having “Bad Back Pain since the
accident and they have been refusing me medical
treatment.” As relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary and
punitive damages and injunctive relief.
Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental
entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must review
the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under §
1915A, the 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 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997),
overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549
U.S. 199 (2007).
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).
FCDC is not a “person” subject to suit under
§ 1983 because municipal departments, such as jails, are
not suable under § 1983. Matthews v. Jones, 35
F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994); Marbry v. Corr. Med.
Servs., No. 99-6706, 2000 WL 1720959, at *2 (6th Cir.
Nov. 6, 2000) (holding that a jail is not an entity subject
to suit under § 1983). In this situation, it is Fulton
County that is the proper defendant. See Smallwood v.
Jefferson Cty. Gov't, 743 F.Supp. 502, 503 (W.D. Ky.
§ 1983 claim is made against a municipality, this Court
must analyze two distinct issues: (1) whether 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 order.
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);
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 original). To 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.” Alkire v. Irving, 330 F.3d
802, 815 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Garner v. Memphis Police
Dep't, 8 F.3d 358, 364 (6th Cir. 1993)).
the allegations in the complaint demonstrate that any alleged
wrongdoing or injury occurred as a result of a policy or
custom implemented or endorsed by Fulton County. Accordingly,
the complaint fails to establish a basis of liability against
the municipality and fails to state a cognizable § 1983
claim. Accordingly, the claims against the FCDC will be
fails to state the capacity in which he sues Defendant
Brewer. Individual-capacity “suits seek to impose
personal liability upon a government official for actions he
takes under color of state law.” Kentucky v.
Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 (1985).
“Official-capacity suits, in contrast, ‘generally
represent only another way of pleading an action against an
entity of which an officer is an agent.'”
Id. at 166 (quoting Monell, 436 U.S. at 691
n.55). “[Section] 1983 plaintiffs must clearly notify
defendants of the potential for individual liability.”
Moore v. City of Harriman, 272 F.3d 769, 773 (6th
Cir. 2001) (en banc). “When a § 1983 plaintiff