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Knight v. Woosley

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

March 26, 2018




         This is a pro se civil rights action brought by a convicted prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff Andrew Christopher Knight 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 several claims, but allow one claim to proceed for further development.


         Plaintiff was incarcerated at Grayson County Detention Center (GCDC) before he was transferred to Daviess County Detention Center (DCDC). He brings this action against the following five Defendants - Jason Woosley, GCDC Jailer, in his official capacity only; Roy Washington, GCDC “Nurse Practitioner/Acting Physician, ” in both his official and individual capacities; “Nurse 1, ” in his official capacity only; “Nurse 2, ” in her official capacity only; and “C.O. Embry, ” GCDC Guard, in his official capacity only.

         In the complaint, Plaintiff states that on February 8, 2018, he requested to see medical staff at GCDC concerning his mental health medication. He states that he then received a response in writing indicating that Defendant Washington had prescribed him a mental health medication based upon Plaintiff's records from the facility where he had previously been incarcerated. Plaintiff states that Defendant Washington ordered this medication for him without examining him and that the medication caused “uncontrollable physical side effects.” He then writes that he refused this medication and “requested to be seen.” Plaintiff then alleges that on February 13, 2018, he was informed in writing that this was the only medication that would be ordered for him based upon his medical records. Plaintiff states that he then requested that the medication be discontinued. Plaintiff alleges that he requested to see a “mental health professional/ psychiatrist” on February 21, 2018, but was instead seen by Defendant “Nurse 1.” Plaintiff states that he told “Nurse 1” that he needed to see a psychiatrist to be evaluated and that “Nurse 1” told him that he would speak with Defendant Washington about this request. Plaintiff states that he filed another request “to medical the following day, ” and that on February 23, 2018, he was seen by Defendant “Nurse 2.” Plaintiff alleges that Defendant “Nurse 2” told him that Defendant Washington had stated that he would not see or treat Plaintiff and that he would not refer Plaintiff to a mental health professional. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant “Nurse 2” told him this in front of Defendant Embry.

         Plaintiff states that on February 25, 2018, he “placed another request for relief concerning past back surgeries, ” but that he received a response from medical telling him that he could purchase medication from the commissary.

         Plaintiff states that on February 27, 2018, he was transferred to DCDC “without response from any grievance or requests I placed.” Plaintiff claims that he was transferred “to keep from being treated medically” at GCDC and so that he would be unable complete the § 1983 paperwork he had requested so that he could file this action.

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief “in the form of on-site mental health professional staffed; group and mental health counseling when requested; on site psychiatrist included; separate housing for mental health patients when requested.”


         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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