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Smith v. Fulton County Detention Center

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky

February 28, 2018



          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge

         Plaintiff Monyal D. Smith filed the instant pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the Court upon initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons stated herein, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Fulton County Detention Center (FCDC). The Court will also direct Plaintiff to clarify the allegations against two other Defendants.


         Plaintiff, identifying himself as a pretrial detainee, sues the FCDC, as well as Acting Jailer Carrie Powell, Chief Deputy Jeff Johnson, and Corrections Officers Brittany Walsh and William Jackson in his or her individual capacity. Plaintiff states that when he was booked into the FCDC on November 4, 2016, he was assigned to “POD 121, ” a cell pod for county inmates. However, shortly after entering the cell pod, state inmate Davenport threatened him with a sharp utensil and told him to leave the cell pod. Plaintiff asserts that he informed non-Defendant corrections officer Jamie Alexander, who moved Plaintiff to another cell pod and “put a []keep away[] on [Plaintiff] & Davenport like a []conflict[.]” Plaintiff states that eleven days later he was transferred to another county facility and then subsequently released.

         However, Plaintiff reports that on February 8, 2017, he re-entered FCDC and was assigned to POD 121, the same cell pod where he was threatened by Davenport. He states that ten minutes after he entered the cell pod, inmate Davenport again made verbal threats to him and the two began fighting. He states that the cameras in the cell pod were not working. According to the complaint, after twenty minutes of fighting, both inmates retreated. However, Davenport then reached under his bunk and “came towards [Plaintiff] with a sharp utensil the same homemade knife” he had used to threaten Plaintiff previously. Plaintiff maintains that Davenport chased him around the cell pod with the knife and ultimately cut him in his chest, left arm, and head.

         Plaintiff states, “[T]he officer William Johnson (CO) came in, ordered Davenport to get off me . . . & it took a while so Davenport finally did & ordered me . . . to exit out of POD 121 & from there CO William Johnson called Brittany Walsh” and they told two non-Defendant corrections officers to take Plaintiff to medical. Plaintiff asserts that he later learned that Davenport was allowed to return to the cell pod on February 10, 2017, but that Plaintiff was held in medical isolation until February 14, 2017. Plaintiff was later put in another cell pod, “POD 105.” Plaintiff further states as follows:

[F]rom there F.C.D.C ..... acted as if it never happened. They unproffessionally put me in a county POD 121 filled with state inmates. Then after CO Jamie Alexander [] who longer works here, had put a [] keep away [] on [Plaintiff] and Davenport till my life was in danger & no cameras & a conflict which wasn't honored so there for im filling this statement of claims against the Jail Association & the staff I've included.

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages.


         When a prisoner initiates a civil action seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of it, if the court determines that the complaint 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).

         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)). “But the district court need not accept a ‘bare assertion of legal conclusions.'” Tackett, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995)). “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).

         Although this Court recognizes that pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), “[o]ur duty to be ‘less stringent' with pro se complaints does not require us to conjure up unpled allegations.” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted). And this Court is not required to create a claim for 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).


         A. ...

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