United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
CHARLES A. JONES Plaintiff
TRINITY FOOD SERVICES Defendant
REBECCA GRADY JENNINGS, DISTRICT JUDGE.
Charles A. Jones, Jr., pro se, filed this in
forma pauperis civil-rights action. 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, this case
will be dismissed.
STATEMENT OF CLAIMS
a pretrial detainee at the Louisville Metro Department of
Corrections (LMDC), sues Trinity Food Services, the
“food service/commissary” at LMDC. He alleges
that he never received a care package ordered for him by his
mother. He states that his mother's email correspondence
with Defendant Trinity Food Service revealed that
Plaintiff's name had been forged. Plaintiff further
alleges that, when he sent an action request and inmate
grievance form, “they never gave me back a
reply.” He states that he did not receive an answer
even though he was told that “they had 10 business days
to reply.” He states further that when he “asked
the commissary lady in charge (Ms. Peaches) she told me take
it as a lose because I'm not getting it. Due to my father
using my ID now . . . I just had to go threw a name change
while in jail.” Finally, he alleges that “when
items are not in stock my family never gets a refund on the
items that wasn't in stock.”
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).
extent that Plaintiff is alleging a constitutional violation
because he did not receive a care package in violation of his
due-process rights, his claim fails to state a claim for
which relief may be granted. A prisoner claiming an
unauthorized, intentional deprivation of property in
violation of the Due Process Clause must show that state
post-deprivation remedies are inadequate. Hudson v.
Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 531-33 (1984); Copeland v.
Machulis, 57 F.3d 476, 479 (6th Cir. 1995). Kentucky has
adequate post-deprivation remedies for the confiscation or
destruction of property, such as a tort action for conversion
against individual defendants. See Wagner v.
Higgins, 754 F.2d 186, 192 (6th Cir. 1985).
Consequently, Plaintiff's claim related to his missing
care package must be dismissed.
extent that Plaintiff is alleging that his constitutional
rights were violated because prison officials failed to
answer his grievance regarding his lost care package,
Plaintiff also fails to state a claim for which relief may be
granted. An inmate grievance procedure within the prison
system is not constitutionally required. See United
States ex rel. Wolfish v. Levi, 439 F.Supp. 114, 163
(S.D.N.Y. 1977), aff'd sub nom, Wolfish v.
Levi, 573 F.2d 118 (2nd Cir. 1978), rev'd on
other grounds, Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520
(1979); Spencer v. Moore, 638 F.Supp. 315 (E.D. Mo.
1986); O'Bryan v. Cty. of Saganaw, 437 F.Supp.
582, 601 (E.D. Mich. 1977). If the prison provides a
grievance process, violations of its procedures do not rise
to the level of a federal constitutional right.
Spencer, 638 F.Supp. at 316. Thus, Plaintiff's
claim relating to the lack of a response to his grievance
must be dismissed.
Plaintiff appears to be alleging that his family should be
refunded for items they paid for but which were out of stock.
Plaintiff may not bring such a claim on behalf of another. As
a pro se litigant, Plaintiff may act as his own
counsel in this matter. See 28 U.S.C. § 1654.
However, he is not authorized to represent others in federal
court. See, e.g., Shepherd v. Wellman, 313
F.3d 963, 970 (6th Cir. 2002) (explaining that a plaintiff
may not appear pro se where interests other than the
plaintiff's are at stake). Moreover, Plaintiff may only
assert those claims which are personal to him. Warth v.
Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499 (1975); see also Coal
Operators & Assoc., Inc. v. Babbitt, 291 F.3d 912,
915-16 (6th Cir. 2002). Thus, Plaintiff lacks standing to
assert a claim on behalf of his family for not receiving a
refund on out-of-stock items. Therefore, this claim will be
dismissed as frivolous for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. Babbitt, 291 F.3d at 915
(“[S]tanding to sue . . . is a jurisdictional