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Edmonds v. Daviess County Detention Center

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

January 31, 2018




         Plaintiff Troy Lee Edmonds, an inmate incarcerated at the Daviess County Detention Center (DCDC), filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint is 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 Court will do the following: (1) dismiss the claims raised in the complaint; (2) dismiss the DCDC; and (3) allow Plaintiff to amend his complaint as to the medical-treatment claim.


         Plaintiff brings this action against the DCDC and seeks monetary relief. According to Plaintiff, he has asked on multiple occasions to be checked for prostate cancer. However, Plaintiff states that his requests keep getting ignored. Plaintiff states that “[t]hey aren't treating me or/and other inmate fair By dening us medical attention needed.” Plaintiff further states that he is housed in a cell built to hold 22 men; however, the cell never has less than 34 people in it, and Plaintiff has to sleep on the floor. Further, Plaintiff states that “they won't work [him], ” and he needs to be somewhere where he can work.


         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.

         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)). “[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).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Overcrowding and Sleeping on the Floor

         Plaintiff claims that his rights have been violated because the cell in which he is housed is overcrowded, and he must sleep on the floor. “[O]vercrowding is not, in itself, a constitutional violation.” Agramonte v. Shartle, 491 F. App'x 557, 560 (6th Cir. 2012). “‘[E]xtreme deprivations' must be alleged in order to support a prison-overcrowding claim.” Id. (quoting Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992)). If the overcrowding results in the denial of a basic human need, such as food, shelter, or warmth, that would be a constitutional wrong. Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991). No. such circumstance has been alleged here. Plaintiff does not state that he has not been provided a mattress or mat to sleep on. His claim appears to be that he must sleep on the floor rather than on an elevated bed since there are not enough elevated beds for the number of inmates housed in the cell. This allegation does not state a claim of constitutional dimension because a prisoner has no right to sleep on an elevated bed. See Sanders v. Kingston, 53 F. App'x 781, 783 (7th Cir. 2002) (“We know of no case holding that the Eighth Amendment requires elevated beds for prisoners, and [plaintiff] does not cite one.”); Mann v. Smith, 796 F.2d 79, 85 (5th Cir. 1986) (The plaintiff “has cited no case holding that the Constitution requires elevated beds for prisoners, and we know of no source for such a right.”); Graves v. Boyd, No. 5:16-CV-P51-TBR, 2016 WL 4386102, at *5 (W.D. Ky. Aug. 15, 2016) (recognizing that “a prisoner has no constitutional right to sleep on an elevated bed”).

         There is an additional reason that this claim must be dismissed. Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act [PLRA], 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e), “[n]o Federal civil action may be brought by a prisoner confined in a jail, prison, or other correctional facility, for mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior showing of physical injury or the commission of a sexual act.” Plaintiff has not alleged the commission of a sexual act. He has also not alleged any physical injury in connection with being in an overcrowded cell sleeping on the floor. Without the showing of something more than a de minimis physical injury associated with his claim, Plaintiff's claim fails. See Jarriett v. Wilson, 162 F. App'x 394, 401 (6th Cir. 2005) (finding de minimis injury where a prisoner complained that his legs were swollen, he suffered pain while standing, and he had severe cramps in his thighs when trying to sit); Jennings v. Mitchell, 93 F. App'x 723, 725 (6th Cir. 2004) (finding that plaintiff's claim that he was uncomfortable after being sprayed with pepper spray was precluded by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e) since he failed to show more than a de minimis injury); Adams v. Rockafellow, 66 F. App'x 584, 586 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant since plaintiff failed to allege any physical injury arising out of the strip searches about which he complained); Robinson v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 14 F. App'x 382, 383 (6th Cir. 2001) (affirming dismissal of claims for “emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation, and itching” since plaintiff “suffered at most only de minimis physical injury”); Bey v. Garber, No. 99-1471, 2000 WL 658721, at *1 (6th Cir. May 12, 2000) (alleged humiliation and embarrassment suffered by inmate seen naked and laughed at by female corrections officers failed to satisfy physical-injury requirement); Pryor v. Cox, No. 97-3912, 1999 WL 1253040, at *1 (6th Cir. Dec. 13, 1999) (finding plaintiff's claim of being subjected to bad food, unsanitary conditions, and excessive heat without also claiming he had suffered any physical injury as a result of these conditions was meritless).

         For these reasons, this claim will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         B. Prison Job

         Plaintiff states that “they won't work [him], ” and he needs to be somewhere where he can work. A prisoner does not have a constitutional right to a particular job, or to any job at all. See Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 348 (1981) (“[L]imited work hours . . . do not inflict pain, much less unnecessary and wanton pain; deprivations of this kind simply are not punishments.”); Newsom v. Norris, 888 F.2d 371, 374 (6th Cir. 1989) (“[T]he Constitution does not create a property or liberty interest in prison employment . . . .”) (quotations omitted); Ivey v. Wilson, 8 ...

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