United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge
matter is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff
Owen Ray Gadd's pro se complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons that follow, the action
will be dismissed.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
is a convicted inmate currently incarcerated at the Little
Sandy Correctional Complex. He brings this action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 complaining of events occurring during his
detention at the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR). He sues
the following Defendants in their official capacities: (1)
Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC) Commissioner Jim
Erwin; (2) KSR Warden Aaron Smith; (3) KSR Grievance
Coordinator Casey Dowden; (4) KSR Mailroom Clerk David
Airington; (5) KSR Mailroom Clerk Jennifer Parks; (6) KSR
Deputy Warden Anna Valentine; (7) KSR Administrative Section
Supervisor Philip Campbell; and (8) John Dunn, who Plaintiff
identifies as the State Grievance Coordinator.
complaint, Plaintiff alleges that “twice the [KSR]
staff of the mail room have mishandled my legal mail.”
The first episode occurred in June 2017. Plaintiff claims,
“I could have had my Federal Habeas Corpus dismissed
because my legal mail was with held from me for 28 days. I
had at most 14 days to prepare and submit a reply
Motion.” He indicates that the withheld mail “was
a timeless Motion from Warden Aaron Smith, represented by
Assistant Attorney General, Jason B. Moore, Commonwealth of
Kentucky.” Plaintiff further indicates that the
“legal mail” had been mailed on June 2, 2017;
that on June 28, 2017, he “received a letter from
[Defendant] Dowden . . . stating she had my legal mail as
well as a court CD”; and that on June 30, 2017,
Defendant Dowden handed him his “legal mail” that
“was not in an envelope [and] had been opened out of my
reports filing a grievance regarding the foregoing matter but
that Defendant Dowden stated the grievance was dismissed
because Plaintiff did not ask for any action. Plaintiff
reports, however, that on August 7, 2017, Defendant Valentine
provided a response; that on August 9, 2017, Defendant
Campbell provided a response; that Plaintiff filed an appeal
to Defendant Erwin; and that on August 18, 2017, Defendant
Dunn answered the appeal.
second episode involving his mail, Plaintiff reports an
incident occurring in October 2013. He states:
[My] legal mail was mailed to me by a sheriff. This legal
mail was also opened by the same legal mail/mailroom staff
that mishandled the timeless Motion. My legal mail in that
situation was sent to my dorm opened in general population
mail, that had not been opened in my presents. This matter
was also grieved and appealed to the Commissioner, this
grievance was filed on October 29, 2013. This grievance was
exhausted all the way to the Commissioner.
relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary and punitive damages.
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 and dismiss the
complaint, or any portion thereof, 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).