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McKinney v. Napier

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

January 23, 2018

ANGELA NAPIER et al., Defendants.

          Plaintiff, pro se Counsel for Defendant Weigel Defendants Angela Napier, Kelly Napier, and Daniel Napier General Counsel, Justice & Public Safety Cabinet, Office of Legal Counsel


          David J. Hale, United States District Court, Judge

         Plaintiff, Robert Willis McKinney, an inmate incarcerated at Kentucky State Reformatory, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Docket Number (DN) 1). On May 25, 2017, the Court performed its initial review of the complaint (DN 9) 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) and allowed the following claims to proceed: (1) the retaliation claims against Defendants Angela Napier and Weigel based on their alleged filing of false disciplinary charges against Plaintiff and (2) the legal mail claim against Defendant Weigel. All other claims and Defendants were dismissed from this action. Plaintiff has now filed an amended complaint (DN 41), and Defendant Weigel has filed a motion to strike the amended complaint (DN 42).

         The Court will first address Defendant Weigel's motion to strike. Defendant Weigel argues that the Court should strike Plaintiff's amended complaint because Plaintiff failed to file a “Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint.” Plaintiff's amended complaint (DN 41) was filed in response to the Court's Order (DN 29) granting him leave to amend his complaint. Therefore, no motion is required.

         For these reasons, Defendant Weigel's motion to strike (DN 42) is DENIED.

         The amended complaint (DN 41) is presently before the Court for review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d at 608.


         In his amended complaint (DN 41), Plaintiff seeks to add two new Defendants to this action. He identifies these Defendants as follows: (1) Daniel Napier, a unit administrator at Northpoint Training Center (NTC); and (2) Kelly Napier, a records custodian at NTC. He sues these Defendants in only their individual capacities. As relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Kelly Napier filed false disciplinary charges against him in retaliation for filing a report about Defendant Angela Napier's unlawful conduct and because he obtained “legal material from the inmate legal library to appeal [her] retaliatory actions.” Plaintiff states that as a result of the false disciplinary charges, he spent 15 days in segregation before the charges were later dismissed and expunged by Warden Bottoms. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant Kelly Napier conspired with Defendants Weigel and Daniel Napier to “have a retali[a]tory transfer submitted to place [Plaintiff] in a h[e]ightened level of danger at Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex.” Plaintiff further states that “at the end of the Fifteen day[s] of seg[re]gation he was transfer[r]ed without notice or ab[i]lity to appeal.” According to Plaintiff, Defendant Kelly Napier denied him access to the courts when she issued a disciplinary report “that was for obtaining statutes to use in a Circuit Court filing under KRS Chapter 61 to appeal to the courts her actions, punishing by seg[re]gation for obtaining legal material for said court filing and obstructing [Plaintiff's] ab[i]lity to correctly file an action into the Courts . . .” Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Weigel took Plaintiff's legal mail to Defendant Daniel Napier. Thereafter, according to Plaintiff, Defendant Daniel Napier “did co[n]spire with Kelly Napier and Michelle [Weigel] to retaliate against [Plaintiff] and the motive was an attempt to deter [Plaintiff] from engaging in protected conduct of filing a re[p]ort and grievance.”


         Because Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must review the instant amended complaint 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.

         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 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] 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)). “But the district court need not accept a ‘bare assertion of legal conclusions.'” Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting 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).

         III. ...

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