United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE.
Zachrey Donyelle Winters filed a pro se, in
forma pauperis complaint. This case is before the Court
for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and
McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir.
1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock,
549 U.S. 199 (2007). For the following reasons, some claims
will be dismissed, and Plaintiff will be given an opportunity
to amend his complaint.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
is an inmate at the Fulton County Detention Center (FCDC). He
names as Defendants Jailer Steven Williams in his official
capacity and Dr. Chris Weatherspoon in his individual and
official capacities. He alleges that his high blood pressure
has not been properly treated in violation of the
Constitution's Cruel-and-Unusual-Punishments Clause and
state law. He states that after numerous requests, he was
finally seen by a nurse, and, at that time, his blood
pressure was 179 over 119. He alleges that due to his high
blood pressure he has had a severe headache for months.
asks for monetary and punitive damages and injunctive relief.
prisoner initiates a civil action seeking redress from a
governmental entity, officer, or employee, the trial court
must review the complaint and dismiss the action, 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 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1) and (2). A
claim 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 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. When determining
whether Plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief can be
granted, the Court must construe the complaint in a light
most favorable to Plaintiff and accept all factual
allegations as true. Prater v. City of Burnside,
Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). While a
reviewing court must liberally construe pro se pleadings,
Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per
curiam), to avoid dismissal, a complaint must include
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
Defendants, employees of Fulton County, in their official
capaciteies is the same as suing the county itself. See
Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989). Therefore, Plaintiff's official-capacity claims
against Defendants are actually brought against the Fulton
County government. See Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d
1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994).
§ 1983 claim is made against a municipality, like Fulton
County, a court must analyze two distinct issues: (1) whether
the plaintiff's harm was caused by a constitutional
violation; and (2) if so, whether the municipality is
responsible for that violation. Collins v. City of Harker
Heights, Tex., 503 U.S. 115, 120 (1992). The Court will
address the issues in reverse order.
municipality cannot be held liable solely because it employs
a tortfeasor - or, in other words, a municipality cannot be
held liable under § 1983 on a respondeat superior
theory.” Monell, 436 U.S. at 691 (emphasis in
original); Searcy v. City of Dayton, 38 F.3d 282,
286 (6th Cir. 1994); Berry v. City of Detroit, 25
F.3d 1342, 1345 (6th Cir. 1994). “[T]he touchstone of
‘official policy' is designed ‘to distinguish
acts of the municipality from acts of employees of the
municipality, and thereby make clear that municipal liability
is limited to action for which the municipality is actually
responsible.'” City of St. Louis v.
Praprotnik, 485 U.S. 112, 138 (1988) (quoting
Pembaur v. Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 479-80 (1986))
(emphasis in Pembaur).
municipality cannot be held responsible for a constitutional
deprivation unless there is a direct causal link between a
municipal policy or custom and the alleged constitutional
deprivation. Monell v. N.Y.C. Dept. of Soc. Servs.,
436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978); Deaton v. Montgomery Cty.,
Ohio, 989 F.2d 885, 889 (6th Cir. 1993). Simply stated,
the plaintiff must “identify the policy, connect the
policy to the city itself and show that the particular injury
was incurred because of the execution of that policy.”
Garner v. Memphis Police Dep't, 8 F.3d 358, 364
(6th Cir. 1993) (quoting Coogan v. City of Wixom,
820 F.2d 170, 176 (6th Cir. 1987), overruled on other
grounds by Frantz v. Vill. of Bradford, 245 F.3d 869
(6th Cir. 2001)). The policy or custom “must be
‘the moving force of the constitutional violation'
in order to establish the liability of a government body
under § 1983.” Searcy, 38 F.3d at 286
(quoting Polk Cty. v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 326
(1981) (citation omitted)); Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs of
Bryan Cty., Okla. v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1997)
(indicating that plaintiff must demonstrate “deliberate
Court finds that Plaintiff has not alleged that a Fulton
County custom or policy was the moving force behind any of
the alleged constitutional violations. Plaintiff's
official-capacity claims will be dismissed.
Individual-capacity claim against ...