United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
NATHAN C. WALL Plaintiff
LOUISVILLE METRO DEPT. OF CORR. Defendant
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
REBECCA GRADY JENNINGS DISTRICT JUDGE.
Nathan C. Wall, a pro se prisoner, filed this
civil-rights action. This case 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, this case will be
dismissed in part and allowed to continue in part.
STATEMENT OF CLAIMS
is a convicted prisoner, incarcerated at the Louisville Metro
Department of Corrections (LMDC). He names LMDC as Defendant.
He alleges that “Cells were 95◦.
Stayed sick.” He also alleges, “They illegally
housed me in headquarters were knowingly had black mold. I
couldn't breathe. Made me suffer over 30 days in it also
had no air conditioning the entire time and no working
toilets and sinks in my cell over 30 days.” It appears
that the 30-day period he is referring to is May 20 to June
amended complaint continues:
I want to sue the LMDC or LMPD in an official capacity. I am
being held against my will and knowing made all bonds
previous to the settlement date. There is a clerical mistake
and I'm not supposed to still be incarcerated and this is
all against my life, limb, and liberty also against my
amendment rights. Tricked me into waivering my preliminary
hearing for my bond money back then suppose to keep me
ROR'd and then kept me incarcerated.
requests monetary and 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 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 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 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).
regard to Plaintiff's allegations that a clerical mistake
or a trick has kept him illegally incarcerated, such a
challenge to his custody may not be brought under §
1983. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 481 (1994)
(“[H]abeas corpus is the exclusive remedy for a state
prisoner who challenges the fact or duration of his
confinement and seeks immediate or speedier release, even
though such a claim may come within the literal terms of
§ 1983.”). “[W]hen a state prisoner is
challenging the very fact or duration of his physical
imprisonment, and the relief he seeks is a determination that
he is entitled to immediate release or a speedier release
from that imprisonment, his sole federal remedy is a writ of
habeas corpus.” Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S.
475, 500 (1973). Moreover, “a state prisoner's
§ 1983 action is barred (absent prior invalidation) - no
matter the relief sought (damages or equitable relief), no
matter the target of the prisoner's suit (state conduct
leading to conviction or internal prison proceedings) - if
success in that action would necessarily demonstrate the
invalidity of confinement or its duration.”
Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82 (2005).
Thus, because his arguments about being tricked and being the
victim of a clerical mistake imply the invalidity of his
current confinement or its duration, § 1983 relief is
unavailable, and these claims will be dismissed.
Court will allow to go forward Plaintiff's claims
regarding the conditions of his confinement described in the
amended complaint, i.e., that the cells were 95
degrees and had black mold with no air condition and no
working toilets and sinks. However, the only named Defendant
is LMDC. LMDC 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 the Louisville Metro Government 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, the Louisville Metro government is a
“person” for purposes of § 1983. Monell
v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690
(1978). The Court will, therefore, construe the claims
against LMDC as brought against Louisville Metro Government.
IS ORDERED that Plaintiffs claims related to the
fact or duration of his confinement are
DISMISSED for failure to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Court will allow Plaintiffs claims about his conditions of
confinement for 30 days to go ...