United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCKINLEY, JR., CHIEF JUDGE
Frazier Clark, a state inmate who is represented by counsel,
brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff paid the full filing fee. The Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) of 1996 requires federal
district courts “to screen all civil cases brought by
prisoners, regardless of whether the inmate paid the full
filing fee, is a pauper, is pro se, or is
represented by counsel, as the statute does not differentiate
between civil actions brought by prisoners.” In re
Prison Litigation Reform Act, 105 F.3d 1131, 1134 (6th
Cir. 1997). Thus, this matter is before the Court for
screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons
stated below, the Court will allow this action to proceed
against only one of the Defendants.
filed the complaint on April 24, 2018 (DN 1). He filed an
amended complaint on May 8, 2018 (DN 7), in accordance with
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1) (“A party may amend its pleading
once as a matter of course within . . . 21 days after serving
is a convicted inmate at the Kentucky State Reformatory. He
sues the Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Corrections
(KDOC) and Correct Care Solutions, LLC (CCS). Plaintiff
states that he suffers from Sickle Cell Anemia, which
requires him “to have a blood transfusion ever four
weeks to avoid very serious side effects, including possible
strokes or death.” Plaintiff reports that he must
receive blood transfusions at a hospital. He maintains that
Defendants have “routinely failed or refused” to
transport him to the hospital at scheduled four-week
intervals. Plaintiff states that the delays cause serious
risks to his heath, including one occasion on March 5, 2018,
where his “blood levels were so low that he had a
negative reaction to the infusion, resulting in stroke-like
symptoms and admission to the Intensive Care Unit for ten
days where he was placed on oxygen.” Plaintiff also
contends that Defendants have stated recently that they
intend to reduce or eliminate his pain medication, which he
was directed to take by the hospital.
maintains that he “suffers from a serious medical
condition of which he has made Defendants aware”; that
“Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to the
risk of harm to [Plaintiff], employing a custom or policy of
intentionally denying him proper medical care until he has
suffered to the point of nearly dying”; and that
“Defendants' actions constituted cruel and inhuman
punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United
States Constitution.” As relief, Plaintiff seeks
compensatory and punitive damages, costs and attorneys'
fees, and other relief.
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).
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
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).
state a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must allege that a
“person” acting under color of state law deprived
the plaintiff of a right secured by the Constitution or
federal law. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The KDOC is
a department within the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet of
the Commonwealth of Kentucky. See Exec. Order No.
2004-730 (July 9, 2004); Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 12.250. A
state and its agencies are not “persons” subject
to suit under § 1983. Will v. Mich. Dep't of
State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989); Matthews v.
Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir.1994). Because the
KDOC is not a “person” under § 1983,
Plaintiff fails to state a cognizable claim against it.
the Eleventh Amendment acts as a bar to all claims for relief
against the KDOC. A state and its agencies, such as the KDOC,
may not be sued in federal court, regardless of the relief
sought, unless the state has waived its sovereign immunity
under the Eleventh Amendment or Congress has overridden it.
Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Auth. v. Metcalf &
Eddy, Inc., 506 U.S. 139, 146 (1993); Pennhurst
State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 124
(1984); Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978).
The Commonwealth of Kentucky has not waived its immunity,
see Adams v. Morris, 90 Fed.Appx. 856, 857 (6th Cir.
2004), and in enacting § 1983, Congress did not intend
to override the traditional sovereign immunity of the states.
Whittington v. Milby, 928 F.2d 188, 193-94 (6th Cir.
1991) (citing Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 341
Plaintiff's action against the KDOC will be dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and
for seeking relief from a defendant who is immune from such
review, the Court will allow the action to proceed against
CCS. In so doing, the Court passes no judgment on the