United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Frankfort
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Gregory F. Van Tatenhove United States District Judge
Harold Meeks, Sr., is an inmate at Men's Central Jail in
Los Angeles, California. Proceeding without an attorney,
Meeks filed a civil rights complaint with this Court pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [R. 1]. That complaint, however,
was not on a form approved for use by this Court, as required
by Local Rule 5.2(a). Meeks also failed to pay the filing and
administrative fees or complete the proper forms in order to
seek leave to proceed as a pauper in this action. Therefore,
the Court entered an order directing Meeks to cure these
deficiencies in order to proceed with his case. [R. 5].
has now filed a complaint using the proper, Court-approved
form. [R. 6]. In that submission, Meeks lists two defendants:
(A) the Franklin County Sheriff's Department; and (B) the
Franklin County Prosecutor's Office. [Id. at 1].
Meeks then alleges that members of the Franklin County
Sherriff's Department's Drug Task Force conducted a
warrantless search of a residence, seized certain substances,
arrested him, and held him for more than three months while
prosecutors pursued drug-related charges against him.
[See Id. at 2-3]. Meeks then suggests that officials
later determined that the substances seized were not in fact
drugs, and, as a result, they dropped the charges against
him. [See Id. at 3]. Meeks now claims that the
Franklin County Sheriff's Department and Franklin County
Prosecutor's Office violated his federal constitutional
rights by falsely arresting him, engaging in an overzealous
prosecution, and inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on
him. [See Id. at 4]. Ultimately, Meeks is seeking
$500 billion in money damages. [See Id. at 6].
Meeks's submission is now before the Court on initial
screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
Court will dismiss Meeks's constitutional claims against
the Franklin County Sheriff's Department and the Franklin
County Prosecutor's Office, the two defendants he names
in his complaint. [R. 6 at 1]. With respect to the Franklin
County Sheriff's Department, the United States Court of
Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has repeatedly made it clear
that this kind of entity may not be sued for money damages
for alleged constitutional violations under § 1983.
See, e.g., Mayers v. Williams, No. 16-5409, 2017 WL
4857567, at *3 (6th Cir. Apr. 21, 2017) (recognizing that
“neither the police department nor the task force may
be sued”); Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d 1046,
1049 (6th Cir. 1994) (stating that “the Police
Department is not an entity which may be sued”);
Rhodes v. McDannel, 945 F.2d 117, 120 (6th Cir.
1991) (holding that a sheriff's department is not a legal
entity subject to suit under § 1983). And with respect
to the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office, Meeks simply
has not alleged enough facts to state a viable constitutional
claim against this entity. Plus, even if Meeks had offered
more facts in his complaint, he certainly has not alleged
facts sufficient to overcome the immunity generally afforded
prosecutors pursuing criminal cases. See Adams v.
Hanson, 656 F.3d 397, 401-03 (6th Cir. 2011) (citing and
discussing Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409 (1976)).
even if this Court construes Meeks's claims against
Franklin County itself, those claims still fail to survive
initial screening. That is because Meeks has not clearly
alleged that the facts about which he complains are the
product of a county policy or custom, as required to state a
claim for relief against the county. See Thomas v. City
of Chattanooga, 398 F.3d 426, 429 (6th Cir. 2005)
(citing Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978)). Thus, to the extent
that Meeks is seeking relief against Franklin County, those
claims are likewise unavailing.
it is ORDERED as follows:
Meeks's constitutional claims against the Franklin County
Sheriffs Department and the Franklin County Prosecutor's
Office, the only claims he asserts in his complaint [R. 6],
are DISMISSED with prejudice.
pending motions are DENIED as moot.
action is STRICKEN from the ...