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Robinson v. Hardin County Detention Center

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

August 2, 2018

THOMAS A. ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
HARDIN COUNTY DETENTION CENTER et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          David J. Hale, Judge United States District Court

         This is a pro se civil rights action brought by a pretrial detainee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff Thomas A. Robinson 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 this action.

         I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff is incarcerated at the Hardin County Detention Center (HCDC). He brings this action against three Defendants - HCDC and HCDC Deputies Shawn Cooper and Aaron Hardy.

         In the complaint, Plaintiff alleges as follows:

On 12/17/17, a call was made to a 911 dispatcher made myself for a possible overdose. I was very “lethargic” in a statement that Sergeant Damon Lasley said himself. I was in fear for my own life feeling very incoherent and hysterical. With all officer and deputy statements it is clear that I was not in a reasonable “state of mind.”

         Plaintiff then states that he was ultimately charged with illegal possession, escape, possession, and disorderly conduct. Plaintiff indicates that he believes that his prosecution for these crimes violates Ky. Rev. Stat. § 218A.133, which is titled “Exemption from Prosecution for Possession of Controlled Substance or Drug Paraphernalia if Seeking Assistance with Drug Overdose.”

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks “HCDC Housing Fees” and “Case Dismissal/Apology Letter.”

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Because 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. 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 § 1915A(b)(1), (2); McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 608 (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] 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] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). However, while liberal, this standard of review does require more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions. See Columbia Nat. Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995). The Court's duty “does not require [it] 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 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. ANALYSIS

         Section 1983 creates no substantive rights but merely provides remedies for deprivations of rights established elsewhere. Flint ex rel. Flint v. Ky. Dep't of Corr., 270 F.3d 340, 351 (6th Cir. 2001). Two elements are required to state a claim under § 1983. Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). “A plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). “Absent either element, a section 1983 claim will not lie.” Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).

         The Court construes Plaintiff's complaint as attempting to state a claim for malicious prosecution. This claim, however, fails for several reasons. First, the entity and the individuals Plaintiff has named as Defendants in this action - HCDC and two HCDC deputies - are not responsible for his criminal prosecution. Thus, they are not proper parties to this action. See, e.g., Murphy v. Grenier, 406 ...


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