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Landers v. Johnson

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

June 28, 2018



          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court.

         This is a pro se civil rights action brought by a convicted prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff Terrance Lee Landers leave to proceed in forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss some claims but allow others to proceed.


         Plaintiff is incarcerated at the Fulton County Detention Center (FCDC). He brings this action against Jeff Johnson, the Chief Deputy at FCDC, in both his official and individual capacities.

         In the complaint, Plaintiff writes as follows:

On June 26, 2017 approx 12:00 a few inmates covered the window of [their cell] with toothpaste and paper so officers could not see in. There was not a cell camera . . . The inmate's broke lights, unbolted a table, and flooded the cellblock with water. There was no way to identify who was responsible or involved. Two officers each wrote incident reports. They wrote up all 22 inmates me included from [the cell]. [Defendant] Johnson was called in hours later state police and local law enforcement gained entry to the cellblock and restrained myself and 5 other African American males. We were all put in isolation. I was isolated for a month and a half. [Defendant] Johnson then wrote his own incident report to the Department of Corrections and stated we were disruptive. [Defendant] Johnson recommended that 6 inmates loose classification and meritorious good time to prevent another occurrence. I was not responsible there was a prejudice decision to assume we were responsible. I feel violated. I have copies of the incident reports the two officers wrote. Involved all 22 inmates and I have a copy of [Defendant] Johnson report involving 6 African American males.
Plaintiff then continues his complaint as follows:
It was also a security risk to have 22 inmates in a cellblock without a incell camera. If there was a camera he would know who was involved and wouldn't have made assumptions. Without proof, he demanded these six inmates to loose goodtime and classification just assuming we were responsible without proof and the Department of Corrections did take my classification and goodtime for a year. Also the report [Defendant] Johnson sent to the Department of Corrections has kept me from going home in home incarceration program and the mandatory reentry supervision program and stopped me from receiving work credit. The reports that were written by the two officers prove and shows that there was no idea who was involved. They were wrote by Ashley Collier and Jamie Alexander on June 26, 2017.

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief in the form of “restoration of good time” and “expungement of record.”


         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. ...

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