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Johnson v. Brady

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division

June 24, 2019

ISAIAH JOHNSON PLAINTIFF
v.
AMY BRADY et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Joseph H. McKinley Jr. Senior Judge.

         Plaintiff Isaiah Johnson filed a pro se, in forma pauperis 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 reasons set forth below, this action will be dismissed in part and allowed to continue in part.

         I. SUMMARY OF CLAIMS

         Plaintiff is an inmate at the Henderson County Detention Center (HCDC). He names as Defendants HCDC Jailer Amy Brady and the unnamed Director of Local Facilities at the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC) in their official capacities. He also names as Defendants in their official and individual capacities HCDC Deputies Edmonds and Hirsch. He alleges that he is disabled within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with depression, ADHD, “bipolar, ” and other mental illnesses. He alleges that, as a result, he is being discriminated against. He further alleges that HCDC refuses to provide inmates information as to their rights under the ADA. Plaintiff alleges that HCDC does not comply with a single regulation set out by the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act (RA), including failing to have a specially appointed ADA coordinator or grievance system and failing to provide handicapped-accessible cells, sinks, toilets, mirrors, and showers. He states that, because he is a state prisoner housed at HCDC, it is the responsibility of Defendant KDOC Director of Local Facilities to see to it that HCDC is compliant with the ADA and RA.

         Plaintiff states that he is suing Defendant Brady in her official capacity for failure to comply with the ADA and Section 504 of the RA. Plaintiff states that he sues Defendant KDOC Director of Local Facilities “in his official capacity for failure to ensure that his local facility, HCDC, complies with the (ADA) and (RA) thereby letting HCDC discriminate and retaliate against me . . . [a]nd thereby allowing HCDC to violate my 1st, 8th, and 14th amendment rights as established under the constitution.” Plaintiff further alleges that he has been retaliated against due to his disability by being sprayed with mace twice within a two-minute span for no reason, first by Defendant Edmonds and then by Defendant Hirsch. Plaintiff elaborates as follows:

Per HCDC policy Deputy are supposed to ask - advise - and then warn an inmate before spraying them if they are doing something in a threatening manner. I was in Cell 416 isolation arguing with deputies about not getting a razor when without warning they opened the door and sprayed me in the face and shut the door when I became angry and started cursing them they popped the door and sprayed me again without warning. Being very outspoken about my rights as a disable inmate has led to this kind of treatment.

         Plaintiff states that he is suing Defendants Edmonds and Hirsch in their official and individual capacities for retaliation under the ADA, assault, and violations of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

         As relief, Plaintiff requests monetary relief and injunctive relief in the form of ordering HCDC to comply with the ADA.

         II. ANALYSIS

         When a 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 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).

         A. Claims brought on behalf of other inmates

         To the extent that Plaintiff may be attempting to bring claims on behalf of other inmates by alleging that no inmates at HCDC are provided with a copy of their rights under the ADA, Plaintiff may not bring such a claim because, as a pro se litigant, he may not put forth claims on behalf of other individuals. See 28 U.S.C. § 1654 (“In all courts of the United States the parties may plead and conduct their own cases personally or by counsel as, by the rules of such courts, respectively, are permitted to manage.”); Eagle Assocs. v. Bank of Montreal, 926 F.2d 1305, 1308 (2d Cir. 1991) (explaining that § 1654 “‘does not allow for unlicensed laymen to represent anyone else other than themselves'”) (citation omitted). Consequently, to the extent that Plaintiff is attempting to represent other inmates, those claims will be dismissed.

         B. ADA and RA claims

         Plaintiff alleges that HCDC does not provide information regarding inmates' ADA rights; that HCDC does not comply with the ADA and RA in terms of providing an ADA coordinator, grievance system, or handicapped facilities; and that he has been been discriminated against in violation of the ADA by Defendants Brady and the unnamed KDOC Director of Local Facilities. Plaintiff appropriately sues these Defendants in their official capacities only. See Lee v. Mich. Parole Bd., 104 Fed.Appx. 490, 493 (6th Cir. 2004) (“[N]either the ADA nor the RA impose[s] liability upon ...


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