United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
JAMES A. WRIGHT PLAINTIFF
FULTON CO. DETENTION CTR. DEFENDANT
B. Russell, Senior Judge
matter is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff
James A. Wright's pro se complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons that follow, the
Court will dismiss the instant action.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
a convicted state prisoner, brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against the Fulton County Detention Center
(FCDC), the facility in which he is currently incarcerated.
He alleges, “we was out working for the City of Hickman
when the Jail Worker ran off the road and into a
ditch.” He continues, “5 inmates was passengers
in a bus the Driver ran off the road metal window came in and
struck me on my neck [and] head and through me in the floor.
The Driver had a dirty urine and was fired.” Plaintiff
claims, “my left side has been numb ever since and I
have had little medical attention.” As relief,
Plaintiff indicates that he wants “to sue for pain
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental
entities, officers, and/or employees, the Court must review
the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under §
1915A, the trial court must 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).
courts are to hold pro se pleadings “to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,
” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), this
duty to be less stringent “does not require us to
conjure up unpled allegations, ” McDonald v.
Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a
claim for a plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l
Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir.
1975). To command otherwise would require courts “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).
initial matter, the Court advises that the FCDC is not an
entity subject to suit under § 1983. Matthews v.
Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994). Rather, the
claims against the FCDC actually are against Fulton County as
the real party in interest. Id. (“Since the
Police Department is not an entity which may be sued,
Jefferson County is the proper party to address the
allegations of Matthews's complaint.”); see
also Blay v. Daviess Cty. Det. Ctr., 4:07CV-P69-M, 2007
WL 2809765, at *1 (W.D. Ky. Sept. 25, 2007); Fambrough v.
Vaught, 4:06CV-P130-M, 2007 WL 891866, at *1 (W.D. Ky.
Mar. 21, 2007) (“[T]he claims against the detention
center are . . . against [the County] as the real party in
interest.”); Smallwood v. Jefferson Cty.
Gov't, 743 F.Supp. 502, 503 (W.D. Ky. 1990) (suit
against fiscal court is actually suit against county itself).
§ 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 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);
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)).
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 allegations in the complaint indicate that any alleged
wrongdoing or injury occurred as a result of a policy or
custom implemented or endorsed by Fulton County. 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, the complaint fails to
establish a basis of liability against the municipality and
fails to state a cognizable § 1983 claim. Therefore, the
§ 1983 claims against FCDC/Fulton County will be
determined that the federal § 1983 claims over which
this Court has jurisdiction should be dismissed, this Court
declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any
state-law negligence claims Plaintiff may be trying to
assert. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3) (“The
district courts may decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over a claim . . . if . . . the district court
has dismissed all claims over ...