United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
DAMON J. PARKER PLAINTIFF
COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY DEFENDANT
N. Stivers, Chief Judge.
Damon J. Parker 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.
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
is a convicted inmate at the Louisville Metro Department of
Corrections. He names as Defendant the Commonwealth of
Kentucky. He states, “I've been doing time off and
on for a child support case that should have been over with 3
years.” He states that he was convicted in 2013 for
flagrant nonsupport, given a “three year sentence on
probation for a 5 year state time sentence in prison, ”
and completed his probation without any violation. However,
he states that, even though his probation should be up, he is
still on probation. He further states that adding up all the
jail time he has done, “it's almost 4 years dead
jail time that has not been counted for anything towards this
case. Basically all my time together is like a 10 year
sentence for a 3 year sentence.” He states, “This
is wrong and it's violating my constitutional
relief, Plaintiff requests monetary and punitive damages and
injunctive relief of “records expunged clean.”
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).
names only the Commonwealth of Kentucky as Defendant.
However, the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
specifically prohibits federal courts from entertaining suits
brought directly against the states themselves. The Eleventh
Amendment provides: “The Judicial power of the United
States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or
equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United
States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or
Subjects of any Foreign State.” U.S. Const., amend. XI.
Although the Eleventh Amendment does not address the
situation where a state's own citizen initiates suit
against it, case law has interpreted the amendment in such a
way as to foreclose that possibility. Barton v.
Summers, 293 F.3d 944, 948 (6th Cir. 2002) (citing
Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1 (1890)). The Sixth
Circuit has opined that “[a] state is sovereign within
the structure of the federal system, and ‘it is
inherent in the nature of sovereignty not to be amenable to
the suit of an individual without its consent.'”
Id. (quoting Seminole Tribe of Fla. v.
Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 54 (1996)).
are essentially three exceptions to the rule cited above: (1)
when the state consents to suit; (2) when Congress has
abrogated a state's sovereign immunity; and (3) when
under the fiction created by Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123
(1908), a litigant seeks injunctive or prospective relief
from a state officer in order to prevent future
constitutional violations. See Barton, 293 F.3d at 948. None
of these exceptions exist in this case. The Commonwealth of
Kentucky has not waived its immunity, see Adams v.
Morris, 90 Fed.Appx. 856, 857 (6th Cir. 2004), and in
enacting § 1983, Congress did not intend to override the
traditional sovereign immunity of the states. Whittington
v. Milby, 928 F.2d 188, 193-94 (6th Cir. 1991) (citing
Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 341 (1979)).
Plaintiff's action against the Commonwealth of Kentucky
for damages will be dismissed for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted and for seeking relief from
a defendant who is immune from such relief.
also asks this Court to expunge his criminal record. He,
therefore, seeks an immediate or speedier release from
imprisonment. “[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). The § 1983 claim for equitable relief,
therefore, cannot lie. Accordingly, the claim for expungement
of Plaintiffs criminal record will be dismissed.
event that Plaintiff wishes to file a petition for writ of
habeas corpus challenging the length or duration of his
sentence, the Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to send a 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254 packet to Plaintiff.