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Buford v. Bolton

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

June 28, 2018

RANDALL PAUL BUFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK BOLTON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          David J. Hale, Judge.

         Plaintiff Randall Paul Buford filed the instant pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the Court on initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss some of Plaintiff's claims and allow some of his claims to proceed.

         I.

         Plaintiff is an inmate at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC). He sues LMDC Director Mark Bolton in his individual and official capacities.

         In his first claim, Plaintiff states that his “right to freedom of religion was violated by not allowing me to practice the dietary guidelines set forth in Judeism.” He maintains that this began when he arrived at LMDC and continues to the present. He reports that he converted to Judaism in 2011 and that Judaism calls for a kosher diet. Plaintiff states, “LMDC offers a Kosher diet, and per the handbook states ‘Special diets will be provided for inmates whose religous beliefs require the adherence to religous dietary law when approved by the LMDC Chaplain. The Chaplain will verify and confirm the religous diet needs.'” Plaintiff asserts that upon arrival at LMDC he listed his religion as Judaism and that it is “noted in my medical records w/ a copy sent to the Chaplain.” He states, “The defendant violated my rights by not ensuring that his staff allowed me the freedom to practice my religion as my religion calls for.”

         In his second claim, Plaintiff also asserts that his “right to redress of grievances and due process have been violated by my attempts to correct the injustices going on through the inmate grievance procedure.” Plaintiff states that he has written three unanswered formal grievances and “an abundance” of informal grievances. He states, “The defendant violated my rights by not enforcing and overseeing his staff were doing their job properly.”

         Further, in his third claim, Plaintiff maintains that his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment has been violated “by the many meals I've had to go without because I was refused the opportunity to eat b/c what I was being given was not adequate or within the guidelines set forth by the dietician.” He continues, “Because of the fight being put up by LMDC regarding my Kosher [diet] I was placed on a vegetarian diet by medical as it is the closest to Kosher possible.” Plaintiff reports that he has been told “to eat it or do without.” He states, “There was times everything was mixed together like slop. Proteins taken off the tray with no replacement.” Plaintiff concludes, “The defendant violated my rights by not ensuring his staff handle this and fix this. The defendant's actions has led to me being inhumanely treated and all of these are interrelated.”

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and injunctive relief.

         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 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).

         Although this Court recognizes that pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), “[o]ur duty to be ‘less stringent' with pro se complaints does not require us to conjure up unpled allegations.” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted). And this Court is not required to create a claim for Plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975). To command otherwise would require the Court “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).

         III.

         A. Denial of ...


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