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Papineau v. Conway

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

March 26, 2018



          Joseph H. McKinley, Jr., Chiei Judge United States District Court.

         This is a pro se civil rights action brought by an inmate pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff Michael A. Papineau leave to proceed in forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss certain claims, but give Plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint.


         Plaintiff was previously incarcerated in the Webster County Jail (WCJ). He brings this action against the WCJ and the following WCJ officials in both their official and individual capacities - Jailer Terry Elders, Sergeant Conway, and “C.O. Ames.”

         In the complaint, Plaintiff states as follows:

I was arrested 1/18/17. DUI. I awoke at Deaconess Hospital on 1/20/18.[1] Went home, arrested for P.V. I am missing three to seven days. At first, I was told I fell. I didn't see how with injuries I had. I had two separate head injuries. One a little higher than the other. One was just a bruise about the thickness of my finger about four inches long, the second swelled the whole side of my head and took eight staples to close the wound. I have since found out that a guard caused these injuries. When the guard came to the holding cell he thought I was dead the way my head and neck was twisted and all the blood in the floor. I had a feeling what took place. I was handled badly by a guard. I want someone to investigate. I still have headaches it took two and a half months for my head to stop leaking. It was shift change. All the guards were here and two inmates witnessed it too. The nurse even told me while the doctor was removing the staples that she attempted to stop the bleeding that there was nothing in the cell that I could have fell in to do the damage that I received. I have been told by a witness that the guard, grabbed me with one hand and swept my feet out from under me and drove my head into the toilet. That's after he forced my head into wall in booking. They said you could hear the toilet ring through out the jail.

         In a separate portion of the complaint, Plaintiff states that he was “viciously attacked by C.O.'s while intoxicated.” In another section he states: “During Booking, I was assaulted by the C.O.'s sent to [illegible]. Recovered 8 staples, then transported to [illegible] . . . Hospital before I came to.” 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).

         III. ANALYSIS

         “Section 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 (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 ...

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