United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court.
matter is before the Court on initial review of the amended
complaint (DN 10) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the
reasons that follow, a portion of the claims will continue
and others will be dismissed.
BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF CLAIMS
Bryan Anthony Branham, a convicted inmate currently
incarcerated at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex
(LLCC), filed a pro se complaint (DN 1) pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the complaint, as Defendants, he
named LLCC Warden Scott Jordan; LLCC Captain Tim
Forgy; LLCC Deputy Warden of Security Webb
Strang; LLCC Deputy Warden of Programs Jessie Stack; and
former Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC) Commissioner
Rodney Ballard. He sued each Defendant in his/her official
brought three claims in the original complaint. First, he
alleged that his forced placement in Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
violated the Establishment Clause and that the posting of
bulletins/memos regarding NA violated his privacy rights.
Second, he challenged a change in visitation policy with
respect to bathroom breaks, alleging cruel and unusual
punishment, discrimination, and violations of the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Finally, he alleged that he was transferred to Little Sandy
Correctional Complex (LSCC) from LLCC by Defendant Forgy in
retaliation for filing grievances. As relief, Plaintiff
sought damages and injunctive relief in the form of ordering
his transfer back to LLCC and ordering the “D.O.C. to
seace Retaliation Efforts.”
initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A (DN 9), the Court dismissed the official-capacity
claims and provided Plaintiff with an opportunity to file an
amended complaint to name as Defendants in their individual
capacity those persons who he claims harmed him and to
explain how each Defendant violated his rights. Plaintiff has
filed an amended complaint, which the Court will now review
under § 1915A.
amended complaint is virtually identical to the original
complaint with the exceptions that in the amended complaint,
Plaintiff now sues Defendants Jordan, Forgy, Strang, Stack,
and Ballard only in their individual capacities and now seeks
the following relief: damages, an injunction
“prohibitting the D.O.C. from continuing the acts
outlined in my suit, ” and for the Court to “make
effort to pursue investigation against the D.O.C. for their
mallicious and unauthorized practice.” In the amended
complaint, Plaintiff raises the same three claims raised in
the original complaint.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental
entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must review
the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The statute
requires the Court to review the complaint and dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, 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 § 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).
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 trial 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. 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)). “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).
Claims 1 and 3
consideration, the Court will allow Claim 1 (that
Plaintiff's forced placement in NA violated the
Establishment Clause and that the posting of bulletins/memos
regarding NA violated his privacy rights) to continue against
Defendants Warden Jordan and Deputy Warden of Programs Stack,
who presumably for the purposes of initial review implemented
and enforced the policies of forced placement of prisoners in
NA and posting of confidential information, and Claim 3 (that
Plaintiff was transferred to LSCC from LLCC in retaliation
for filing grievances) to continue against Defendant Forgy.