United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division
AARON D. WRIGHT PLAINTIFF
DAIVESS COUNTY DETENTION CENTER DEFENDANT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKinley Jr., United States District Court District Judge
Aaron D. Wright filed a pro se, in forma
pauperis 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint. This matter 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,
Plaintiff will be given an opportunity to amend his
STATEMENT OF FACTS
is a pretrial detainee at the Daviess County Detention Center
(DCDC). He names as the only Defendant DCDC. He alleges that
on October 4, 2017, while he was in isolation, “Sgt.
Allen stood face to face with me while I urinated. I
protested him watching me and recording me with his body
cam.” He states that on the next day he “filed
for a P.R.E.A.” He states that he feels as though Sgt.
Allen “used his position, authority, and power to make
me feel unsafe and ashamed.” He states that he was
called to Sgt. Hempfling's office to discuss the
P.R.E.A., and Sgt. Hempfling told him that he should not file
it because Sgt. Allen did not have his body camera on.
Plaintiff alleges that he feels “as though [he] was
tricked into not filing my P.R.E.A. through deception.”
Plaintiff continues, “I have been sexually violated. I
was watched face-to-face urinating. Either I was recorded
urinating or Sgt. Allen failed to have his body cam on for my
protection. My rights weither sexually or civilly were
violated no matter how this situation is approached and
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 a 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 of the 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).
only named Defendant is DCDC. DCDC is not a
“person” subject to suit under § 1983
because municipal departments, such as jails, are not suable
under § 1983. Rhodes v. McDannel, 945 F.2d 117,
120 (6th Cir. 1991) (holding that a police department may not
be sued under § 1983); see also Marbry v. Corr. Med.
Serv., No. 99-6706, 2000 WL 1720959 at *2 (6th Cir. Nov.
6, 2000) (holding that a jail is not an entity subject to
suit under § 1983). In this situation, it is Daviess
County that is the proper defendant in this case.
Smallwood v. Jefferson Cty. Gov't, 743
F.Supp. 502, 503 (W.D. Ky. 1990) (construing claims brought
against the Jefferson County Government, the Jefferson County
Fiscal Court, and the Jefferson County Judge Executive as
claims against Jefferson County itself). Further, Daviess
County is a “person” for purposes of § 1983.
Monell v. Dept. of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978).
The Court will therefore construe the claims against DCDC as
brought against Daviess County.
§ 1983 claim is made against a municipality, like
Daviess County, a court must analyze two distinct issues: (1)
whether the 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
(emphasis in original); 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))
(emphasis in Pembaur).
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). Simply stated, the plaintiff must “identify the
policy, connect the policy to the city itself and show that
the particular injury was incurred because of the execution
of that policy.” Garner v. Memphis Police
Dep't, 8 F.3d 358, 364 (6th Cir. 1993) (quoting
Coogan v. City of Wixom, 820 F.2d 170, 176 (6th Cir.
1987), overruled on other grounds, Frantz v.
Vill. of Bradford, 245 F.3d 869 (6th Cir. 2001)). The
policy or custom “must be ‘the moving force of
the constitutional violation' in order to establish the
liability of a government body under § 1983.”
Searcy, 38 F.3d at 286 (quoting Polk Cty. v.
Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 326 (1981) (citation omitted));
Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs of Bryan Cty., Okla. v.
Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1997) (indicating that
plaintiff must demonstrate “deliberate conduct”).
Plaintiff does not allege a policy or custom of Daviess
County that is the moving force of the alleged constitutional
violation. Consequently, Plaintiff fails to state a claim
the Court will give Plaintiff an opportunity to amend his
complaint to name Sgt. Allen in his individual capacity as a
Defendant regarding Plaintiff's claim that Sgt. Allen
intentionally watched him urinate. See LaFountain v.
Harry, 716 F.3d 944, 951 (6th Cir. 2013) (“[U]nder
Rule 15(a) a district court can allow a plaintiff to amend
his complaint even when the complaint is subject to dismissal
under the PLRA [Prison Litigation Reform Act].”). The
constitutional rights of a pretrial detainee like Plaintiff
flow from the procedural and substantive due process
guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment. Bell v.
Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 536 (1979). The passing of urine
is a traditionally private function, see, e.g.,
West v. Dallas Police Dep't, No. CIV. A.
3-95CV-1347P, 1997 WL 452727, at *6 (N.D. Tex. July 31,
1997); see also Glaspy v. Malicoat, 134 F.Supp.2d
890, 894 (W.D. Mich. 2001) (discussing cases evidencing that
the right to urinate or defecate in reasonable privacy is
protected under the Fourteenth Amendment), and due process
requires that a pretrial detainee not be punished.
Bell, 441 U.S. at 537.
is no need to allow Plaintiff to name an individual regarding
his allegation that he was thwarted in his attempt to file a
Prison Rape Elimination Act (PRE.A.) report because Plaintiff
has no private cause of action under P.RE A. See, e.g.,
Beckham v. Keaton, No. 14-CV-159-HRW, 2015 WL
1061597 (E.D. Ky. Mar. 10, 2015); Simmons v.
Solozano, No, 3:14-CV-P354-H, 2014 WL 4627278 (W.D. Ky.
Sept. 16, 2014); Montgomery v. Harper, No.
5:14CV-P38-R, 2014 WL 4104163 (W.D. Ky. Aug. 19, 2014).
IS ORDERED that Plaintiff shall have 30
days from entry of this Memorandum Opinion and Order
to amend his complaint to name Sgt. Allen in his individual
capacity as a Defendant in this action and fill out a summons
form. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to send