United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
N. Stivers, United States District Judge.
Robert Allen Wayne Pedigo, filed a pro se, in
forma pauperis complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. This matter is before the Court for screening pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997),
overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549
U.S. 199 (2007). For the reasons set forth below, the action
will be dismissed.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
is an inmate at the Fulton County Jail, which is the only
named Defendant in this action. First, Plaintiff alleges that
his rights have been violated because the Fulton County Jail
uses a kiosk and only allows two grievances per month.
next alleges that he “was moved cells because I was
afraid for my life and I was placed in another cell and as
soon as they put me there I was jumped beaten up and drug
across the floor by other inmates after I was nocked
unconscious.” He states that when the guards arrived,
they locked him in isolation for five days.
further alleges that in November 2017 he was transported by a
homosexual male officer who ran his hand across the
“crotch” of his pants in what Plaintiff believes
to have been a sexual advance. He states that he filed two
complaints on the officer. He alleges that the officer
handling the complaint was very disrespectful to him; made
him feel like a liar; and was mean to him. He also alleges
that his “sexual complaint was not properly
investigated by an outside agency” like it is supposed
asks for monetary 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 action, 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 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and
(2). 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 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. When determining
whether a plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can
be granted, the Court must construe the complaint in a light
most favorable to Plaintiff and accept all of the factual
allegations as true. Prater v. City of Burnside,
Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). While a
reviewing court must liberally construe pro se
pleadings, Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365
(1982) (per curiam), to avoid dismissal, a complaint must
include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
Fulton County Jail is not a “person” subject to
suit under § 1983 because municipal departments, such as
jails, are not suable under § 1983. Rhodes v.
McDannel, 945 F.2d 117, 120 (6th Cir. 1991) (holding
that a police department may not be sued under § 1983);
see also Marbry v. Corr. Med. Serv., No. 99-6706,
2000 WL 1720959 at *2 (6th Cir. Nov. 6, 2000) (holding that a
jail is not an entity subject to suit under § 1983). In
this situation, it is Fulton County that is the proper
defendant in this case. Smallwood v. Jefferson Cty.
Gov't, 743 F.Supp. 502, 503 (W.D. Ky. 1990)
(construing claims brought against the Jefferson County
Government, the Jefferson County Fiscal Court, and the
Jefferson County Judge Executive as claims against Jefferson
County itself). Further, Fulton County is a
“person” for purposes of § 1983. Monell
v. Dept. of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978). The Court
will therefore construe the claims against the Fulton County
Jail as brought against Fulton County.
§ 1983 claim is made against a municipality, like Fulton
County, a court must analyze two distinct issues: (1) whether
the 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
address the issues in reverse order.
municipality cannot be held liable solely because it employs
a tortfeasor - or, in other words, a municipality cannot be
held liable under § 1983 on a respondeat superior
theory.” Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978) (emphasis in original);
Searcy v. City of Dayton, 38 F.3d 282, 286 (6th Cir.
1994); Berry v. City of Detroit, 25 F.3d 1342, 1345
(6th Cir. 1994). “[T]he touchstone of ‘official
policy' is designed ‘to distinguish acts of the
municipality from acts of employees of the municipality, and
thereby make clear that municipal liability is limited to
action for which the municipality is actually
responsible.'” City of St. Louis v.
Praprotnik, 485 U.S. 112, 138 (1988) (quoting
Pembaur v. Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 479-80 (1986))
(emphasis in Pembaur).
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). Simply stated, the plaintiff must “identify the
policy, connect the policy to the city itself and show that
the particular injury was incurred because of the execution
of that policy.” Garner v. Memphis Police
Dep't, 8 F.3d 358, 364 (6th Cir. 1993) (quoting
Coogan v. City of Wixom, 820 F.2d 170, 176 (6th Cir.
1987), overruled on other grounds by Frantz v. Vill. of
Bradford, 245 F.3d 869 (6th Cir. 2001)). 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, 38 F.3d at 286 (quoting Polk Cty. v.
Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 326 (1981) (citation omitted));
Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs of Bryan Cty., Okla. v.
Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1997) (indicating that
plaintiff must demonstrate “deliberate conduct”).
Plaintiff has not identified a policy or custom that was the
moving force behind his allegations related to having been
beaten, the sexual advance, the investigating officer's
behavior, or the failure to properly investigate his sexual
complaint. Thus, ...