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Archibald v. Warren County Regional Jail

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division

October 23, 2018



          Greg N. Stivers, Judge.

         This is a pro se prisoner 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 allow some claims to proceed, dismiss others, and allow Plaintiff the opportunity to amend his complaint.


         Plaintiff Karl Archibald, Jr., is a federal pretrial detainee incarcerated at the Warren County Regional Jail (WCRJ). He names WCRJ as the sole Defendant in this action.

         In the complaint, Plaintiff first claims that his rights are being violated because he is not allowed to “freely exercise” his religion because he is not allowed to wear his Islamic “coofi”[1]outside of his cell. He also alleges that, during Ramadan, he was served unpackaged food prepared by other inmates. Plaintiff indicates that his Ramadan diet consisted of “green apple; (2) bologna sandwiches; Lay potato chips, open cup of lettuce. Breakfast: Peanut Butter spread in Styrofoam tray to pieces of lite bread, and green apple, and packaged flavor aid.” Plaintiff also states that he did not he did not receive breakfast or dinner for two days during Ramadan. Plaintiff further states that he asked “to get off their belief of practice for Ramadan, ” but was told that his “request to come off their belief of Ramadan practices weren't to go in until weekday.” Plaintiff attaches to the complaint a grievance he filed related to his diet concerns. In this grievance, Plaintiff states he that is not being fed at the proper time, that his food has been touched by numerous people, and that he does not get “hot food like [he] should.” He writes “they only give me two sack lunches.” A jail official seemingly responded as follows to Plaintiff's grievance: “Jail standards require 2400 calories per day. Ramadan requires fasting from sun-up to sun-down. Inmate did not turn in request to be removed from Ramadan.” In what appears to be Plaintiff's reply to this response, he writes: “Nothing was said or done about religious bias or disrespect.” Plaintiff next alleges that his rights have been violated because he has not been seen by a nurse practitioner even though he needs mental health medication and has sores on his face, which cause swelling, bleeding, and difficulty sleeping. He states that he has filed several medical requests and that he is always told that he is on “the list” to see the nurse practitioner.

         Plaintiff also claims that his rights are being violated because he does not have access to an updated law library and because he is not allowed to “copy discovery on CD to paper” so he can have hard copies in his cell to study. In addition, he states that he has made several requests for a notary but that these requests have been denied.

         Throughout his complaint, Plaintiff also alleges that he has filed grievances regarding his various issues at WCRJ but that he has never received responses. He writes that the grievances at WCRJ “seem to disappear.” As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief in the form of release from detention and “28 U.S.C. §§ 2241, 2254, and 2255.”


         When a 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).

         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 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).

         Although 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 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 (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).

         Defendant WCRJ is 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 Warren County as the real party in interest. Id. (‚ÄúSince the Police Department is not an entity which may be sued, Jefferson ...

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