United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division
JOHNNY A. McDONALD PLAINTIFF
GREEN RIVER CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX et al. DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCKINLEY JR., DISTRICT JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter is before the Court on initial review of Plaintiff
Johnny A. McDonald's pro se amended complaint
(DN 34) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons
that follow, the action will be dismissed in part and allowed
to proceed in part.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
is a convicted inmate currently incarcerated at the Kentucky
State Penitentiary (KSP). He brings his action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and complains of events occurring during
his detention at the Green River Correctional Complex (GRCC).
He sues the following Defendants in their individual and
official capacities: GRCC Warden DeEdra Hart; Kentucky
Department of Corrections (KDOC) Commissioner James L. Erwin;
“Correct Care Solutions Corp” (CCS), who
Plaintiff states is the medical services contract company at
GRCC; CCS Nurses Tim Groves and Kathy Casey; CCS Nurse
Practitioner Lessye Crafton; GRCC Case Treatment Officer
(CTO) Grant Penrod; GRCC Internal Affairs (IA) Sergeant James
W. Stogner; and GRCC IA Lieutenant Holly L. Rickard.
Plaintiff having failed to name GRCC as a
Defendant in the amended complaint, the Court will
direct the Clerk to terminate it as a party to this
amended complaint, Plaintiff raises claims alleging denial of
medical treatment and interference with his mail. As to his
medical treatment claim, Plaintiff reports that he has been
diagnosed by several physicians as having “severe high
blood pressure.” He states that due to his medical
condition, he passed out on September 27, 2017, and nearly
passed out on August 17, 2017. He claims, “each time the
Plaintiff underwent massive unbearable pain in his chest,
massive severe mi-gain headaches and dizziness; and CCS
personnel and correctional personnel has blate out ignored
the Plaintiff(s) condition which put(s) the Plaintiff at risk
of losing his life.” Plaintiff also claims that GRCC
staff failed to answer his intercom when he called for
medical help for his high blood pressure symptoms. He alleges
that the following Defendants were involved in denying or
delaying treatment: Defendants Groves, Crafton, Penrod, and
his mail claim, Plaintiff contends that Defendants Rickard
and Stogner violated his “first amendment right by
tampering with his outgoing mail.” He claims that
Defendant Rickard “sent all of [his] legal documents to
another inmate Dennis Miller whom later returned the
documents” and that Defendant Stogner “prevented
Plaintiff to speak freely in letters.” Attachments to
the amended complaint reveals that both Defendants Hart and
Erwin responded to and denied appeals of grievances filed by
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages and
release on parole.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental
entities, officers, and/or employees, the Court must review
the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and dismiss the
complaint, or any portion thereof, 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 v. Wrigglesworth,
114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other
grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007).
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. 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)). “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).
courts are to hold pro se pleadings “to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,
” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972), this
duty to be less stringent “does not require us to
conjure up unpled allegations, ” McDonald v.
Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a
claim for a plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l
Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir.
1975). To command otherwise would require courts “to
explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro
se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the district
court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role
of an advocate seeking out the strongest arguments and most
successful strategies for a party.” Beaudett v.
City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
1983 creates no substantive rights, but merely provides
remedies for deprivations of rights established
elsewhere.” Flint ex rel. Flint v. Ky. Dep't of
Corr., 270 F.3d 340, 351 (6th Cir. 2001). Two elements
are required to state a claim under § 1983. Gomez v.
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). “[A] plaintiff
must allege the violation of a right secured by the
Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show
that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting
under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487
U.S. 42, 48 (1988). “Absent either element, a section
1983 claim will not lie.” Christy v. Randlett,
932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).
Claim for ...