United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCKINLEY, JR., CHIEF JUDGE
a pro se civil rights action brought pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the Court for
screening of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will
dismiss some of Plaintiff's claims but allow him the
opportunity to amend his complaint.
SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT
Jonathan Robert Sapp is incarcerated at Daviess County
Detention Center (DCDC). He names DCDC as the Defendant in
this action. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he is
either not receiving medical care or is receiving inadequate
medical care for the following physical symptoms and/or
conditions - hearing loss, headaches, an ear infection, blood
in urine, a kidney infection, signs of kidney failure,
significant weight loss, severe pain, and a
“broken” tooth. Plaintiff also alleges that he
suffers from “severe mental depression” and is
“ready to commit some of harmful reason to die.”
He states: “The jail is killing me slowly. And nothing
I can do about it.” Plaintiff makes additional
allegations concerning his diet. As relief, Plaintiff seeks
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).
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).
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 dist rict 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).
not an entity subject to suit under § 1983. Matthews
v. Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994). Rather,
the claims against it are actually against Daviess County as
the real party in interest. Id. (“Since the
Police Department is not an entity which may be sued,
Jefferson County is the proper party to address the
allegations of Matthews's complaint.”).
§ 1983 claim is made against a municipality, this Court
must analyze two distinct issues: (1) whether 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 first address the second
issue, i.e., whether the municipality is responsible
for the alleged constitutional violation.
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. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436
U.S. 658, 691 (1978); Deaton v. Montgomery Cty.,
Ohio, 989 F.2d 885, 889 (6th Cir. 1993). To demonstrate
municipal liability, a plaintiff “must (1) identify the
municipal policy or custom, (2) connect the policy to the
municipality, and (3) show that his particular injury was
incurred due to execution of that policy.” Alkire
v. Irving, 330 F.3d 802, 815 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing
Garner v. Memphis Police Dep't, 8 F.3d 358, 364
(6th Cir. 1993)). 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 v. City of Dayton,
38 F.3d 282, 286 (6th Cir. 1994) (quoting Polk Cty. v.
Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 326 (1981) (citation omitted)).
instant case, Plaintiff does not claim that any alleged
violation of his constitutional rights was the result of a
policy or custom implemented or endorsed by Daviess County.
Accordingly, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's claims
against Daviess County for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted.
Court, however, is concerned about the seriousness of
Plaintiff's allegations and will allow Plaintiff the
opportunity to amend his complaint to name as Defendants any
individuals whom he believes have violated or continue to
violate his constitutional rights. See, e.g.,
LaFountain v. Harry, 716 F.3d 944, 951 (6th Cir.
2013) (“[U]nder Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, a district court can allow a plaintiff to