United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division
CORY ALAN EDWARDS et al. PLAINTIFFS
WARREN COUNTY REGIONAL JAIL et al. DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, United States District Judge.
a pro se civil rights action originally brought by
three convicted prisoners, Cory Alan Edwards, Mason Byrn, and
Brandon Whitlow, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Brandon
Whitlow and the claims against him have been dismissed from
this action. The claims alleged in the complaint by the
remaining two Plaintiffs, Cory Alan Edwards and Mason Byrn,
are before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d
601, 608 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the reasons set
forth below, the Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference
claim regarding failure to provide Plaintiff Edwards with new
glasses will proceed against Defendant Laslee in her
individual capacity. All other claims and Defendants will be
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
are incarcerated at the Warren County Regional Jail (WCRJ).
They bring this action against the following five Defendants:
(1) WCRJ; (2) the WCRJ “Medical Department”; (3)
WCRJ Jailer Stephen Harmon; (4) WCRJ Deputy Jailer Missie
Causey-Edmonds; and (5) Talana Laslee, WCRJ “Head
Nursing Staff.” Plaintiff sues the three individuals in
both their official and individual capacities.
Edwards first alleges that since June 2017, he has requested
new prescription glasses because his old ones were broken. He
states that he has “blarrie vision & bad head aches
too due to [his] Eye Presciptions being over 5-years
old.” Plaintiff Edwards states that he has
“repeatly filed/filled Medical Request to be
Treated” and that Defendant Laslee has refused to give
him proper treatment and stated that she “wasn't
going to get [him] no New Prescription Glasses unless The
Kentucky Department of Corrections tell her other
wise.” Plaintiff Edwards further states that he brought
this matter to the attention of Defendants Harmon and
Causey-Edmonds and “they Refuse to get nothing done
about my medical issue.” Plaintiff also states that he
filed a grievance on June 27, 2017, about this issue, but
that he “got nothing back, not even a
Comment/Response.” Plaintiff attached this grievance to
his complaint. In the grievance, Plaintiff states that he is
“having extreme head aches and having difficulties
seeing out of [his] broken glasses due to [his] eye
scriptions being over 5-years-old” (DN 1-3, p. 3).
Plaintiff further states in this grievance that this violates
his rights as a “state inmate.” In the response
section of the grievance there is a comment dated July 7,
2017, which reads as follows: “I/M currently has
glasses and does not meet criteria to go to outside
appointment” (DN 1-3, p. 4).
Edwards and Byrn each allege that they are being
“housed on the floor . . . with only 1-mattress and not
6 inches off the ground which is Required by State law which
states (State prisoners [are] to be housed off the floor
6-inches or be pervided a Stacker Bunk to keep [them] 6
inches off the floor.” Plaintiffs state that this
constitutes “Cruel Punishment.” Plaintiffs
further claim that this condition also violates Plaintiff
Byrn's rights because he is a “Diabetic with
Diabetic Ulcers” and diabetics are not supposed to be
housed on the floor.
relief, Plaintiffs request compensatory and punitive damages
and injunctive relief in the form of release from
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 at 608.
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, 94
(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.” 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 section
1983 claim will not lie.” Christy v. Randlett,
932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).
Defendant WCRJ Medical Department
§ 1983, “person” includes individuals,
municipal corporations, and “other bodies politic and
corporate.” Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of
N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 689-90 & n.55 (1978);
Mumford v. Basinski, 105 F.3d 264, 267 (6th Cir.
1997). “A prison's medical department is not an
entity with a corporate or political existence . . . .
[Therefore] medical departments are not ‘persons'
under § 1983.” Hix v. Tenn. Dep't. of
Corr., 196 F. App'x 350, 356 (6th Cir. 2006);
see also Downer v. Bolton, No. 3:17-CV-P341-CRS,
2017 WL 3082676, at *3 (W.D. Ky. July 19, 2017) (dismissing
the plaintiff's claim against the LMDC Classification
Department because it was not a person subject to being sued
under § 1983); Benberry v. Dir. of Louisville Metro.
Corr., No. 3:06-CV-P520-S, 2007 WL 2229389, at *3 (W.D.
Ky. July 27, 2007) (dismissing plaintiff's claims against
the jail Medical Department because it is not a legal entity