United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Bowling Green Division
N. STIVERS, CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff
Levi Louis West's pro se complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons that follow, the
complaint will be dismissed.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
is a pretrial detainee incarcerated in the Warren County Jail
(WCJ). He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against WCJ Administrator Stephen Harmon, Booking Jailer
Tracy Davis, and Chief Deputy Misse Causey in their official
capacities. Plaintiff alleges, “On May 24, 2018, I
received a package from Amazon containing two used books. I
was given one book. I did not recieve a notification of
rejection for second book.” He reports that he filed a
grievance to find out what happened to the second book and
that Defendant Causey “replied that the book was
disposed of.” He further reports that he filed another
grievance “because my due process rights were not
met” and that Defendant Davis replied with the same
response. Plaintiff contends that his right to due process
was violated because mail “cannot be disposed of
without notice, an appeal process, or option to return to
sender.” As relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary and
punitive damages and legal fees.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental
entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must review
the instant action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under §
1915A, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss
the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, 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 § 1915A(b)(1), (2); McGore, 114
F.3d at 604.
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.
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).
sues Defendants in their official capacities.
“Official-capacity suits . . . ‘generally
represent  another way of pleading an action against an
entity of which an officer is an agent.'”
Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165-66 (1985)
(quoting Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 n.55 (1978)). Plaintiff's
due process claim against Defendants in their official
capacities, therefore, is against Warren County.
§ 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). The Court will address the issues in reverse
municipality cannot be held liable solely because it
employs a tortfeasor -- or, in other words, a municipality
cannot be held liable under § 1983 on a respondeat
superior theory.” Monell, 436 U.S. at
691; Searcy v. City of Dayton, 38 F.3d 282, 286 (6th
Cir. 1994); Berry v. City of Detroit, 25 F.3d 1342,
1345 (6th Cir. 1994). “[T]he touchstone of
‘official policy' is designed ‘to distinguish
acts of the municipality from acts of
employees of the municipality, and thereby make
clear that municipal liability is limited to action for which
the municipality is actually responsible.'”
City of St. Louis v. Praprotnik, 485 U.S. 112, 138
(1988) (quoting Pembaur v. Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469,
479-80 (1986)). 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)).
does not allege that any wrongdoing or injury occurred as a
result of a policy or custom implemented or endorsed by
Warren County. Accordingly, the complaint fails to establish
a basis of liability against the municipality and fails to
state a cognizable § 1983 claim.
even if Plaintiff had brought a claim against Defendants in
their individual capacities, the claim would still fail.
Plaintiff complains of a May 2018 incident where a book he
ordered was disposed of without notice. The Supreme Court has
held, however, that where adequate remedies are provided by
state law, the negligent or intentional loss or destruction
of personal property does not state a claim cognizable under
the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984);
Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527 (1981),
overruled on other grounds by Daniels v. Williams,
474 U.S. 327 (1986). In order to assert a constitutional
claim for deprivation of property, a plaintiff must allege
that the state post-deprivation procedures are inadequate to
remedy the deprivation. See Parratt v. Taylor, 451
U.S. at 543-44. The law of this Circuit is in accord. For
example, in Vicory v. Walton, 721 F.2d 1062 (6th
Cir. 1983), the Sixth Circuit held that “in § 1983
damage suits claiming the deprivation of a property interest
without procedural due process of law, the plaintiff must
plead and prove that state remedies for redressing the wrong
are inadequate.” Id. at 1066. The Sixth
Circuit has found that Kentucky's statutory remedy for
such losses is adequate within the meaning of