United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge
Joseph McGranahan, a prisoner at the Kentucky State
Penitentiary (KSP), filed a pro se complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (DN 1). This matter is
before the Court on initial screening of the complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons that
follow, the Court will dismiss some claims, allow other
claims to continue, and allow Plaintiff to amend the
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
brings suit against the Kentucky Department of Corrections
(KDOC) and the following KSP officers and employees: Warden
Randy White, Sgt. Jesse Coombs, Grievance Coordinator Dan
Smith, Sgt. Rodriguez, C/O Burnette, C/O Larue, and Lt.
Rasmussen. He sues Defendants White, Coombs, and Smith in
their individual and official capacities but does not
indicate the capacity in which he sues Defendants Rodriguez,
Burnette, Larue, and Rasmussen.
complaint, Plaintiff alleges:
on 5/14/17, while I was in 3C/H Segregation unit Sgt. Jesse
Coombs came to my cell and told me to pack up my belongings
to be moved to another cell. I then asked him where would I
be moving to and what for? Sgt. Coombs assembled an
extraction team, came back to my cell and said I was refusing
to move and comply with his orders and I seen him aiming the
OC pepper spray at my face and I said f*** you Coombs come
and get me as he immediately began spraying me with mace. I
was extracted from the cell and cuffed and restrained in a
chair. I refused medical treatment but the nurse poured water
over my head and I was being shocked several times with a
asserts that the “force was applied in a bad-faith
effort, not to maintain or restore discipline, it was used
maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.” He claims
that Defendants “Warden and KDOC knew or reasonably
should have known Sgt. Coombs' illegal actions of
excessive use of force because it is all on camera.” He
also claims that Defendant Smith “t[h]warted my
grievance process by abrogating and errecting a senseless
rule to thwart the process.” Plaintiff alleges
violations of the First and Eighth Amendments to the U.S.
Constitution and of Sections 1 and 17 of the Kentucky
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental
entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must review
the instant action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. See
McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir.
1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock,
549 U.S. 199 (2007). Under § 1915A, the trial court must
review the complaint and dismiss the complaint, or any
portion of the complaint, 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 §
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.
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).