United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Judge
a pro se civil rights action brought by a former
prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has
granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. This matter is before the Court for screening
of Plaintiff s amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2). For the reasons set forth below,
Plaintiffs individual-capacity claims against Defendant
Dunning for damages will be allowed to proceed, but his
claims for injunctive relief will be dismissed.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on the day he was being
transported from the Todd County Detention Center (TCDC) to
Louisville, Defendant Dunning insisted that he take off his
Todd County jumpsuit even though Plaintiff told Defendant
Dunning that he had nothing else to wear. Plaintiff states
that Defendant Dunning "didn't give a damn what I
left in." Plaintiff further states that the Jefferson
County Sheriff did not want to transport Plaintiff in his
boxers but had no choice because he had "four other
stops" to make. Plaintiff writes that although he
pleaded with Defendant Dunning not to make him leave the jail
in his boxers, she "laughed and smirked with remarks and
thought it was funny." Plaintiff states that his
transport to Louisville took three hours and that he was
"boxed in with other inmates with clothing and
embarrassed at every stop." In his amended complaint,
Plaintiff clarifies that he is suing Defendant Dunning in her
official and individual capacities and indicates that he was
a convicted prisoner when the above incident occurred. He
also indicates that, as relief, he seeks compensatory and
punitive damages, and that Defendant Dunning be reprimanded
and the "expungement of all Plaintiffs charges over (5)
review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), a district court must
dismiss a case at any time if it determines that the action
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. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). 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) (quotingBellAtl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570(2007)).
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) (quotingEstelle 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., 518F.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).
upon the allegations set forth above, the Court finds that
Plaintiff has stated colorable claims against Defendant
Dunning in her individual capacity for violations of the
Fourth and Eighth Amendments. See, e.g., Crozier v.
Masto, 3:10-cv-00082-LRH-VPC, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
128604, at *7-8 (D.C. Nev. Nov. 18, 2010) (finding that
plaintiff who was made to wear nothing but boxers and shoes
when he was outside of his cell stated a colorable Fourth
Amendment right to bodily privacy claim); Byler v.
Dep't of Corr., No. 09-CV-671, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
103494 (D.C. Del. Nov. 2, 2009) (finding allegations that
plaintiff was forced to stand at the entrance of his housing
unit in only his boxers and shower shoes for 20-30 minutes,
where over 200 inmates passed by him, and several made sexual
comments to him, suggested possible Fourth and/or Eighth
as the Court explained in its screening of Plaintiff s
original complaint, Plaintiffs official-capacity claim
against Defendant Dunning fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. "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. New York City Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436U.S. 658, 691 n.55 (1978)). Thus, Plaintiffs
official-capacity claim against Defendant Dunning, as an
employee of the TCDC, is actually against her employer, Todd
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 Plaintiffs harm
was caused by a constitutional violation; and (2) if so,
whether the municipality or private corporation is
responsible for that violation. Collins v. City of Harker
Heights, Tex., 503 U.S. 115, 120 (1992). The
municipality is only liable when an official policy or custom
of the corporation causes the alleged deprivation of federal
rights. See Street v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d
810, 818 (6th Cir. 1996) ("Mowe//involved a municipal
corporation, but every circuit to consider the issue has
extended the holding to private corporations as well.").
Municipalities cannot be held liable under § 1983 for
torts committed by its employees when such liability is
predicated solely upon a theory of respondeat superior.
Austin v. Paramount Parks, Inc., 195 F.3d 715, 728 (4th
Cir. 1999). Here, Plaintiff does not allege that the
allegedly unconstitutional act taken against him by Defendant
Dunning was the result of an official custom or policy of
Todd County. Thus, the Court will dismiss Plaintiffs
official-capacity claim against Defendant Dunning.
Court will also dismiss Plaintiffs claims for injunctive
relief for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. Plaintiff first requests that Defendant Dunning be
reprimanded. However, because Plaintiff is no longer
incarcerated at the TCDC,  this request for injunctive relief is
moot. "[A]s a general rule, a prisoner's transfer or
release from a particular prison moots his claims for
injunctive and declaratory relief with respect to his
incarceration there." Rendelman v. Rouse, 569
F.3d 182, 186 (4th Cir. 2009). See also Simmons v. Hays
Cty. Sheriff's Dept, 552 Fed.Appx. 348, 349 (5th
Cir. Jan. 15, 2014) (holding plaintiffs request for
"reprimands" of defendants moot because he had been
transferred to another jail); Warren v. Schick, No.
1:13-cv-274-FDW, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50370 (W.D. N.C. Apr.
10, 2014) (dismissing plaintiffs request for injunctive
relief in form of reprimand of defendant because plaintiff
had been transferred to another facility).
also requests injunctive relief in the form of expungement of
his record. However, expungement is not an available remedy
under § 1983. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477, 481 (1994) ("[H]abeas corpus is the exclusive
remedy for a state prisoner who challenges the fact or
duration of his confinement and seeks immediate or speedier
release, even though such a claim may come with the literal
terms of § 1983."). "[W]hen a state prisoner
is challenging the very fact or duration of his physical
imprisonment, and the relief he seeks is a determination that
he is entitled to immediate release or a speedier release
from that imprisonment, his sole federal remedy is a writ of
habeas corpus." Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S.
475, 500 (1973). Therefore, Plaintiff cannot seek relief in
the form of expungement of his record under § 1983, and
his claim for such relief will be dismissed for failure to
state a claim.