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Pedigo v. Nursing Staff Southern Kentucky Health Partners

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky

March 5, 2018





         This matter is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff Robert Allen Wayne Pedigo's pro se complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons that follow, the Court will dismiss the claims against the two named Defendants and allow Plaintiff an opportunity to file an amended complaint.


         Plaintiff is a convicted inmate currently incarcerated in the Fulton County Detention Center (FCDC). He brings suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against “Nursing Staff Southern Kentucky Health Partners” (SHP) and Barren County Jailer Mark Belomy in their official capacities alleging that he was denied medical and mental health care.

         Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he broke his hand in June 2016 while incarcerated in the Barren County Jail. He states, “I was seen at the time after it Happen the nurse said it was ok Just swollen well weeks went by swollen went down and I was again denied further attention.” He continues, “Finally after about a month it was x-rayed and still they said there wasnt a problem I am guessing because it was started to Hill by its self.” Plaintiff claims, “Its been months later and my hand still hurts and still fills Broke I even put in a medical request around the 1st week of August and still no answer this is why I am filling this lawsuit.” He reports filing grievance forms “a number of times Seeking Medical Attention.”

         Plaintiff further asserts that the “midical staff there also started crushing my deprision medicine and it was acting deferent on me so she threatned to take me off of them because I didnt want them crushed. . . . so I started taking them again because I need them.” He states that he went to court in Warren County “on August 7th and didnt get back till after medicine was passed out so she came in the next day and took me off my medicine.” Plaintiff surmises, “she done this because she didnt like me because I kept given her a problem about my hand.”

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary and punitive damages and injunctive relief in the form of “corrective surgery, Physical Therapy” and having his hand looked at by a doctor.


         Because 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 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007).

         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 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)). “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).

         III. ANALYSIS

         “Official-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., 436 U.S. 658, 691 n.55 (1978)). Plaintiff's official-capacity claims against Defendant Jailer Belomy, therefore, actually are brought against Barren County. See 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). Similarly, the official-capacity claims against Defendant “Nursing Staff Southern Kentucky Health Partners” actually are brought against SHP.

         When a § 1983 claim is made against a municipality, like Barren County, this Court must analyze two distinct issues: (1) whether Plaintiff's harm was caused by a constitutional violation; and (2) if so, whether the municipality is responsible for that violation. Collins v. City of Harker ...

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