United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
L. BUNNING UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Williams, a/k/a Willow Williams,  has filed a pro se
civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(Doc. # 3). The Court has granted her motion to proceed
in forma pauperis by separate Order.
matter is before the Court to conduct the initial screening
required by 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A.
Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir.
2010). When testing the sufficiency of the plaintiff's
complaint, the Court affords it a forgiving construction,
accepting as true all non-conclusory factual allegations and
liberally construing its legal claims in the plaintiff's
favor. Davis v. Prison Health Servs., 679 F.3d 433,
437-38 (6th Cir. 2012). A district court must dismiss any
claim that 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. Hill v.
Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010).
is a pretrial detainee confined at the Campbell County
Detention Center (“CCDC”) in Newport, Kentucky.
In her complaint,  Williams alleges that in late June 2018,
on several occasions Lieutenant Fletcher and Sergeant Stokes
allowed male officers and trainees to conduct a pat-down
search of her person. Williams asserts that CCDC Jailer James
Daley is responsible for the actions of his
subordinates in his employ. Williams contends that as a
transgender person who identifies as female, the Prison Rape
Elimination Act, 42 U.S.C. § 15601 et seq.
(“PREA”) and the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment guaranty her the right to be physically
searched only by female officers. Williams asserts that PREA
violations are deemed “automatically grieved and
remedies exhausted” the moment the inmate complains.
She seeks damages for herself and compulsory training for the
officers involved. (Doc. # 3 at 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 23).
Williams has filed a separate motion seeking a temporary
restraining order requiring that she be searched only by
female officers. (Doc. # 5).
allegations in the present action are very similar to those
Williams asserted in a complaint she filed two months ago.
Williams v. Daley, No. 2:18-cv-55-DLB (E.D. Ky.
2018). In that case, Williams complained that a male officer
had conducted a pat down search of her person-conduct she
asserted violated the PREA, the Equal Protection Clause, the
Due Process Clause, and the Americans with Disabilities Act,
42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. As the Court
explained in dismissing her complaint upon initial screening,
PREA is primarily a funding statute: it does not create
rights enforceable by a private party in a civil action.
Montgomery v. Harper, No. 5:14-cv-P38-R, 2014 WL
4104163, at *2 (W.D. Ky. Aug. 19, 2014) (“the PREA does
not create a private cause of action which can be brought by
an individual plaintiff.”); Hodge v. Burkhart,
No. 15-CV-105-GFVT, 2016 WL 2986262, at *5 (E.D. Ky. May 20,
addition, while inmates retain their constitutional rights
while in prison, those rights are qualified and limited to
account for the challenges faced by prison officials in
maintaining order and security. Jordan v. Gardner,
986 F.3d 1521, 1524 (9th Cir. 1993) (en banc)
(“... prisoners' legitimate expectations of bodily
privacy from persons of the opposite sex are extremely
limited.”). The Constitution thus does not
categorically entitle an inmate of a particular sex to be
pat-down searched solely by guards of the same sex or, in
this case, gender identity. Brown v. Withrow, No.
92-1765, 1993 WL 15141, at *1 (6th Cir. Jan. 22, 1993)
(“A pat-down search, which is by definition of short
duration and minimal obtrusiveness, is not unconstitutional,
even when performed by a female officer” upon a male
inmate) (citing Timm v. Gunter, 917 F.2d 1093, 1100
(8th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 111 S.Ct. 2807
(1991)); Roden v. Sowders, 84 Fed.Appx. 611 (2003)
(holding that strip search of male inmate in presence of
female officer does not offend the Constitution). See
also Solomon v. Mich. Dep't of Corr., 478 Fed.Appx.
318, 320-21 (6th Cir. 2012); Kohn v. Ernst, No.
2:16-cv-115, 2016 WL 5349076, at *9 (W.D. Mich. Sept. 26,
2016). Williams's claim that the Constitution embodies a
per se requirement that she is entitled to be
pat-down searched solely by persons of the same sex or gender
identity thus fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted and must be dismissed.
the Court has previously explained that CCDC Jailer Daley is
not liable in his individual capacity for the acts of his
officers merely because he employs them and acts in a
supervisory role. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
676 (2009). Nor is the official capacity claim against him
viable where, as here, Williams makes no allegations that the
officers acted pursuant to a formal policy or informal custom
of Campbell County. Paige v. Coyner, 614 F.3d 273,
284 (6th Cir. 2010).
IT IS ORDERED that:
Clerk of the Court shall ADD James Daley,
Jailer of the Campbell County Detention Center, as a
defendant in this action, solely in his official capacity;
Williams's complaint (Doc. # 3) is DISMISSED WITH
Williams's motion for a temporary restraining order (Doc.
# 5) is DENIED AS MOOT;
Court will enter an appropriate JUDGMENT
contemporaneously with this Order; and
This matter is STRICKEN from the active