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Edmondson v. Meredith

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

November 30, 2018

JEFFERY TYRONE EDMONDSON JR. PLAINTIFF
v.
MARK MEREDITH DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Joseph H. McKinley, Jr., District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff Jeffery Tyrone Edmondson Jr.'s pro se complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons that follow, the Court will dismiss the instant action.

         I.

         Plaintiff is an inmate at the Hardin County Detention Center. He brings suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Mark Meredith, Director of Dismas Charities, Inc. St. Ann (Dismas).

         Plaintiff claims that on March 2, 2018, he entered Dismas in Louisville, Kentucky, and that on March 27, 2018, he was terminated from the program “due to some residents saying I violated Cardinal Rules. The violation was that I acted out in violence towards another resident.”[1] Plaintiff alleges that he “was a target since the first day I got there” and that the following constitutional rights were violated while at Dismas: “freedom of speech, my rights as a black man to be treated as a equal. My right to voice my opinion on issues that were going on in the community.” He asserts, “I was forced to lie on other residents, just so I wouldn't get in trouble. I was lied on by the residents plus the Director, upon a situation that didn't occure.” He continues, “I was terminated from this program without a proper investigation. So my freedom was taken away on a here say of residents that has a problem with me.” Plaintiff claims:

All of this occured after I went to my counselor Mr. Michael Edwards a week or so prier to the accusuation of my actions that was said I did. I also talked to counselor Mr. Bush . . . a long with Assistant Director Mr. David Meek. I begged them all to do something about it, but it never got done, the situation got worse, which led to me being back incarcarated for no reason. . . . I am wrongfully incarcarated due to the fact of lies.”

         Plaintiff contends that the “Director is racist, most of all the residents is racist as well. They targetted all the blacks and the ones who was hanging out with us.”

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

         II.

         Because Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental entities, officers, and/or employees, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss the complaint, or any portion thereof, 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), (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).

         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 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. 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)). “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).

         A. Defendant Meredith

         Plaintiff does not specify in which capacity he is bringing this action against Defendant Meredith. Individual-capacity “suits seek to impose personal liability upon a government official for actions he takes under color of state law.” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 (1985). “Official-capacity suits, in contrast, ‘generally represent only another way of pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is an agent.'” Id. at 166 (quoting Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 690 n.55 (1978)). “[Section] 1983 plaintiffs must clearly notify defendants of the potential for individual liability.” Moore v. City of Harriman, 272 F.3d 769, 773 (6th Cir. 2001) (en banc). “When a § 1983 plaintiff fails to affirmatively plead capacity in the complaint, we then look to the course of proceedings” to ascertain whether the defendant has been notified of the potential for personal liability. Id.

         The Court finds that the complaint fails to indicate that Plaintiff intends to impose individual liability on Defendant Meredith, and none of Plaintiff's other filings pertain to that issue. Because official-capacity suits are against “‘an entity of which an officer is an agent, '” Graham, 473 U.S. at 165 (quoting Monell, 436 U.S. at 690 ...


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