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Smith v. Fulton County Detention Center, C

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

May 30, 2018

MONYAL D. SMITH PLAINTIFF
v.
FULTON COUNTY DETENTION CENTER et al. DEFENDANTS

          Plaintiff, pro se Defendants Fulton County Attorney

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff Monyal D. Smith filed the instant pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that he was attacked by another inmate while he was a pretrial detainee at Fulton County Detention Center (FCDC). The Court conducted an initial review of the action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, dismissed Plaintiff's claim against the FCDC, and ordered Plaintiff to clarify the allegations against two parties. In compliance, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint (DN 11). This matter is now before the Court on initial review of the complaint and amended complaint.

         I.

         In the original complaint, Plaintiff sued the FCDC, as well as Acting Jailer Carrie Powell, Chief Deputy Jeff Johnson, and Corrections Officers Brittany Walsh and William Jackson in their individual capacities. Plaintiff stated that when he was booked into the FCDC on November 4, 2016, he was assigned to “POD 121, ” a cell pod for county inmates. However, shortly after entering the cell pod, state inmate Davenport threatened him with a sharp utensil and told him to leave the cell pod. Plaintiff asserted that he informed non-Defendant corrections officer Jamie Alexander, who moved Plaintiff to another cell pod and “put a []keep away[] on [Plaintiff] & Davenport like a []conflict[.]” Plaintiff stated that eleven days later he was transferred to another county facility and then subsequently released.

         However, Plaintiff reported that on February 8, 2017, he re-entered FCDC and was assigned to POD 121, the same cell pod where he was threatened by Davenport. He stated that ten minutes after he entered the cell pod, inmate Davenport again made verbal threats to him and the two began fighting. He stated that the cameras in the cell pod were not working. According to the complaint, after twenty minutes of fighting, both inmates retreated. However, Davenport then reached under his bunk and “came towards [Plaintiff] with a sharp utensil the same homemade knife” he had used to threaten Plaintiff previously. Plaintiff maintained that Davenport chased him around the cell pod with the knife and ultimately cut him in his chest, left arm, and head.

         Plaintiff stated, “[T]he officer William Johnson (CO) came in, ordered Davenport to get off me . . . & it took a while so Davenport finally did & ordered me . . . to exit out of POD 121 & from there CO William Johnson called Brittany Walsh, ” and they told two non-Defendant corrections officers to take Plaintiff to medical. Plaintiff asserted that he later learned that Davenport was allowed to return to the cell pod on February 10, 2017, but that Plaintiff was held in medical isolation until February 14, 2017. Plaintiff was later put in another cell pod, “POD 105.” Plaintiff further stated as follows:

[F]rom there F.C.D.C ..... acted as if it never happened. They unproffessionally put me in a county POD 121 filled with state inmates. Then after CO Jamie Alexander [] who longer works here, had put a [] keep away [] on [Plaintiff] and Davenport till my life was in danger & no cameras & a conflict which wasn't honored so there for im filling this statement of claims against the Jail Association & the staff I've included.

         As relief, Plaintiff sought compensatory damages.

         Based on Plaintiff's assertion that a non-Defendant officer “had put a [] keep away [] on [Plaintiff] and Davenport till my life was in danger & no cameras & a conflict which wasn't honored so there for im filling this statement of claims against the Jail Association & the staff I've included[, ]” the Court construed the complaint as alleging failure-to-protect claims against all of the individually named Defendants. However, the Court observed that Plaintiff listed Jeff Johnson and William Jackson as Defendants in the complaint caption, but, in his statement of the claim, Plaintiff referred to “William Johnson” and made no reference to Jeff Johnson or William Jackson. Therefore, the Court ordered that Plaintiff must clarify to whom he is referring when he identifies “William Johnson” in the statement of the claim.

         Plaintiff filed an amended complaint naming as Defendants Jeff Johnson and William Jackson in their official capacities only. He largely reiterates the allegations in the complaint. He states that when inmate Davenport was attacking him with the sharp object, “Corrections officer William Jackson, had ordered Mr. Davenport, to get off me. After awhile Mr. Davenport did so. C/O William Jackson, had called for C/O Brittany Walsh, so that they could get me to the nurse for medical assistance.” He continues, “They C/O's William Jackson and Brittany Walsh had informed corrections officers Lee McCord and Mike Reynolds to get me to medical.”

         II.

         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 ...


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