United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKinley, Jr., Chief Judge
a pro se civil rights action brought by a pretrial
detainee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has
granted Plaintiff Rance Leon Cox 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 Plaintiff's
claims, but allow him an opportunity to amend his complaint.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
is a pretrial detainee at Hardin County Detention Center
(HCDC). He brings this action against two HCDC officials in
their official capacities only - Jailer Danny Allen and
complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on February 26, 2018, he
was attacked by a “state inmate. . . over a roll of
toilet tissue” in his protective custody cell.
Plaintiff states that he was “beaten in head, hit in
the face, slammed to the ground and kicked!” Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Reynolds took photos of
“[Plaintiff]'s torn shirt, back, right side of
face, and [the other inmate]'s fingernail he lost while
beaten [Plaintiff] during the assault.” Plaintiff then
writes: “I believe I was not protected in seg. by HCDC
in anyway at all!” He concludes: “I did nothing
to provoke this assault! I am an old man and will never feel
safe anywhere! I should never have been placed in harm's
way while in seg. on P/C during my 1 hour out a day!! Please
send Hardin County a message and find them at fault for
letting me get assaulted!”
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages,
and that the charges pending against him be
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).
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 U.S. 42, 48
(1988). “Absent either element, a section 1983 claim
will not lie.” Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d
502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).
sues both Defendants in their official capacities only.
“[O]fficial-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. NewYork City Dep't of
Soc. Servs.,436 U.S. 658, 691 n.55 (1978)). Thus,
Plaintiff's official-capacity claims against Defendants
are actually against their employer, which is Hardin County.
See, e.g., Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d
433, 440 (6th Cir. ...