United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKinley, Jr., Chief Judge United States District Court.
Daniel Wade Grant filed the instant pro se 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 action proceeding in forma pauperis.
This matter is before the Court on initial review of the
action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons
set forth below, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's
claims and give him an opportunity to amend his complaint.
a convicted inmate at the Daviess County Detention Center
(DCDC), sues David Craig, whom he identifies as a DCDC
correctional officer, in his official capacity only.
Plaintiff states that Defendant used excessive force
“when he threw me to the ground after trying to put me
in a housing area of the jail where I had previous conflicts.
Mr. Craig knocked my teeth loose, cut my lip, put
abrasion's on my cheeks, and contusions on my jaw.”
He states that the incident occurred on January 11, 2018, and
“was documented on video.” As relief, Plaintiff
seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
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).
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).
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).
sues Defendant in his official capacity only.
“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, 165 (1985)
(quoting Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 n.55 (1978)). Suing an
employee in his official capacity is the equivalent of suing
his employer. Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433,
439-40 (6th Cir. 2008); Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d
1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994); Smallwood v. Jefferson Cty.
Gov't, 743 F.Supp. 502, 503 (W.D. Ky. 1990).
Therefore, the Court construes Plaintiff's
official-capacity claim against Defendant as brought against
his employer, Daviess County.
§ 1983 claim is made against a municipality, 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 Heights, Tex., 503 U.S.
115, 120 (1992). The Court will first address the second
issue, i.e., whether the municipality is responsible
for the alleged constitutional violation.
municipality cannot be held responsible for a constitutional
deprivation unless there is a direct causal link between a
municipal policy or custom and the alleged constitutional
deprivation. Monell, 436 U.S. at 691; Deaton v.
Montgomery Cty., Ohio, 989 F.2d 885, 889 (6th Cir.
1993). To demonstrate municipal liability, a plaintiff
“must (1) identify the municipal policy or custom, (2)
connect the policy to the municipality, and (3) show that his
particular injury was incurred due to execution of that
policy.” Alkire v. Irving, 330 F.3d 802, 815
(6th Cir. 2003) (citing Garner v. Memphis Police
Dep't, 8 F.3d 358, 364 (6th Cir. 1993)). The policy
or custom “must be ‘the moving force of the
constitutional violation' in order to establish the
liability of a government body under § 1983.”
Searcy v. City of Dayton, 38 F.3d 282, 286 (6th Cir.
1994) (quoting Polk Cty. v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312,
326 (1981) (citation omitted)).
instant case, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant subjected him
to excessive force. However, Plaintiff does not allege that
Defendant's actions occurred as a result of a policy or
custom implemented or endorsed by Daviess County. The
complaint alleges an isolated event affecting only Plaintiff.
See Fox v. Van Oosterum, 176 F.3d 342, 348 (6th Cir.
1999) (“No evidence indicates that this was anything
more than a one-time, isolated event for which the county is
not responsible.”). Accordingly, Plaintiff's
official-capacity claim against Defendant will be dismissed
for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
Rule 15(a) a district court can allow a plaintiff to amend
his complaint even when the complaint is subject to dismissal
under the PLRA [Prison Litigation Reform Act].”
LaFountain v. Harry, 716 F.3d 944, 951 (6th Cir.
2013). The Court will allow Plaintiff ...