United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Charles R. Simpson III, Senior Judge.
Jerome Thomas West A/K/A Patrick Wayne Wokulich, 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 action pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court will dismiss Plaintiff's claim and give him an
opportunity to amend his complaint.
a pretrial detainee at the Louisville Metro Department of
Corrections (LMDC), sues LMDC as the sole Defendant.
Plaintiff states as follows:
Since my incarceration on May 12, 2018, in [LMDC] I have been
forced to go by an alias in their system (Patrick Wayne
Wokulich) which is not my legal name. Due to this name
discrepancy on medical releases sent to my physicians and/or
pharmacies my medical and prescription medicine needs and
requirements have not been adhered to properly causing other
increased health issues that are not being properly
addressed. I have many coronary, pulmonary, and neurological
issues diagnosed by specialists in their field that have and
are being neglected due to a lack of comunication between the
facility and their medical staff with my outside physicians
and pharmacy technicians in order to coordinate proper
medical treatment and correct medication needs while my legal
issues are being determined by due process in proper courts.
continues, “My health is deteriorating due to improper
medical treatment and neglected needs based on the lack of
communication with my health care specialists and family
physician due to a forced identity issue by [LMDC] not
acknowledging my legal name, Jerome Thomas West, as used in
my daily life.”
relief, Plaintiff seeks punitive damages.
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).
1983 creates a cause of action against any person who, under
color of state law, causes the deprivation of a right secured
by the Constitution or the laws of the United States. A claim
under § 1983 must therefore allege two elements: (1) the
deprivation of federal statutory or constitutional rights by
(2) a person acting under color of state law. West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Flint v. Ky.
Dep't of Corr., 270 F.3d 340, 351 (6th Cir. 2001).
Absent either element, no § 1983 claim exists.
Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir.
sues only LMDC. However, LMDC is not a “person”
subject to suit under § 1983 because municipal
departments, such as jails, are not suable under § 1983.
Marbry v. Corr. Med. Servs., No. 99-6706, 2000 U.S.
App. LEXIS 28072, at *2 (6th Cir. Nov. 6, 2000) (holding that
a jail is not an entity subject to suit under § 1983).
In this situation, Louisville Metro Government is the proper
defendant. Smallwood v. Jefferson Cty. Gov't,
743 F.Supp. 502. 503 (W.D. Ky. 1990). Further, Louisville
Metro Government is a “person” for purposes of
§ 1983. See Monell v. New York City Dep't of
Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 n.55 (1978). The Court
therefore will construe the claim against LMDC as a claim
brought against Louisville Metro Government.
§ 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). To satisfy the second prong, a 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, 436 U.S. at 691; 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