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Mings-Rucker v. HCDC Jail

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

January 7, 2019

ZACKERY TYLER MINGS-RUCKER PLAINTIFF
v.
HCDC JAIL et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOSEPH H. MCKINLEY JR., DISTRICT JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Plaintiff Zackery Tyler Mings-Rucker filed the instant pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action proceeding in forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court on initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss some of Plaintiff's claims and allow one claim to proceed for further development.

         I.

         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).

         II.

         Plaintiff states that he is a convicted inmate at the Hardin County Detention Center (HCDC). He sues HCDC; Micheal Gunter, identified as a corporal at HCDC; and Danny Allen, the HCDC Jailer. He sues Defendant Gunter in his individual and official capacities. He does not state in which capacity he sues Defendant Allen. Construing the complaint broadly, as the Court is required to do at this stage, the Court construes the complaint as suing Defendant Allen in both his individual and official capacities.

         Individual-capacity claim against Defendant Gunter

         Plaintiff alleges that an incident occurred on September 3, 2018, where he was subjected to excessive force by Defendant Gunter resulting in serious injuries. The Court construes the allegations as alleging excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause.

         Upon review, the Court will allow Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim for excessive force to proceed against Defendant Gunter in his individual capacity. In allowing the claim to proceed, the Court passes no judgment on its merit or ultimate outcome.

         Individual-capacity claim against Defendant Allen

         Plaintiff names Jailer Allen as a Defendant but does not make any reference to him in his statement of the claim. The Court, therefore, construes the complaint as suing Defendant Allen in his role as supervisor of Defendant Gunter. However, the doctrine of respondeat superior, or the right to control employees, does not apply in § 1983 actions to impute liability onto supervisors. Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 n.55 (1978); Taylor v. Mich. Dep't of Corr., 69 F.3d 76, 80-81 (6th Cir. 1995); Bellamy v. Bradley, 729 F.2d 416, 421 (6th Cir. 1984). Rather, to establish supervisory liability in a § 1983 action, “[t]here must be a showing that the supervisor encouraged the specific incident of misconduct or in some other way directly participated in it. At a minimum, a § 1983 plaintiff must show that a supervisory official at least implicitly authorized, approved or knowingly acquiesced in the unconstitutional conduct of the offending subordinate.” Bellamy, 729 F.2d at 421 (citing Hays v. Jefferson Cty., Ky., 668 F.2d 869, 872-74 (6th Cir. 1982)). Supervisory liability “must be based on active unconstitutional behavior and cannot be based upon ‘a mere failure to act.'” Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999) (quoting Salehpour v. Univ. of Tenn., 159 F.3d 199, 206 (6th Cir. 1998)).

         The complaint makes no reference to Defendant Allen and therefore fails to demonstrate that he encouraged any specific incidents or implicitly authorized, approved, or knowingly acquiesced in any unconstitutional conduct. Accordingly, the individual-capacity claim against Defendant Allen will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

         Official capacity claims and ...


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