United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Mauricio Martinez filed a pro se, in forma
pauperis complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
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.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
is a pretrial detainee at the Louisville Metro Department of
Corrections (LMDC). He names as Defendant LMDC Corrections
Officer J. Goldman in his individual and official capacities.
He alleges that on May 23, 2019, Defendant threw Plaintiff on
the floor, punched him in the side and back of his head, put
him in a choke hold, “and continue punching my head
multiple times more.” Plaintiff states that he
“was not resisting at all and he keep on trowing
punches on my head and choking me hard that I almos lost
conscientiousness.” He states that his head is swollen
and hurts, that his jaw hurts, and that “the pain is
unbelievable.” Plaintiff further states that he
“didn't do anything to Officer J. Goldman to make
him beat me up.” He states that he does not feel safe
in LMDC because of the corrections officers. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant “has something personal against
me because when he was punchin me, he keep on saying that he
was not the ‘person that I kill.' This was his
words. [‘]I'm not the little girl that you kill
m.f.['] and keep on punching me hard in till Sgt. Walker
grab his arm is wen he kinda stop.” Plaintiff states
his belief that if Sgt. Walker had not been there, Defendant
“wold beat me til death.” As relief, Plaintiff
asks for 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 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).
“Official-capacity suits . . . ‘generally
represent [ ] another way of pleading an action against an
entity of which an officer is an agent.'”
Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985)
(quoting Monell v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Soc. Servs.,
436 U.S. 658, 691 n.55 (1978)). Thus, the official-capacity
claim against Defendant is in actuality brought against his
employer, Jefferson County.
§ 1983 claim is made against a municipality, in this
case Jefferson County, a court must analyze not only whether
the plaintiff's harm was caused by a constitutional
violation but also, if so, whether the municipality is
responsible for that violation. Collins v. City of Harker
Heights, Tex., 503 U.S. 115, 120 (1992). Here, it is
clear that the municipality is not responsible for the
alleged constitutional violation.
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 by 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
Court finds that Plaintiff has not alleged a policy or custom
of Jefferson County related to the allegations in the
complaint. Plaintiffs official-capacity claim will be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
Court will allow Plaintiffs claim of excessive force against
Defendant in his individual capacity to continue.