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Dyer v. McCoy

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

July 26, 2019

IRA BOLES DYER III PLAINTIFF
v.
TAMBERLY MCCOY et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOSEPH H. MCKINLEY JR., SENIOR JUDGE.

         This is a pro se civil rights action brought by a prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff Ira Boles Dyer III leave to proceed in forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court for screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss some claims, allow others to proceed, and allow Plaintiff the opportunity to amend his complaint.

         I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff is incarcerated as a convicted prisoner at the Daviess County Detention Center (DCDC). He brings this action against the following Defendants in both their official and individual capacities: Southern Health Partners (SHP) physician Tamberly McCoy; SHP mental healthcare provider Christy Dossett; DCDC Jailer Arthur Maglinger; and DCDC Major Jack Jones.

         Plaintiff alleges that shortly before his incarceration, he had surgery on his left knee to repair his meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). He alleges that, as a result of this surgery, he was placed in the DCDC medical pod under the care of SHP. Plaintiff alleges that upon his initial visit with Defendant McCoy, he advised her of his recent surgery and asked what his treatment plan would be. He alleges that Defendant McCoy responded, you “shouldn't have come to jail.” He also alleges that Defendant McCoy told him “that there was nothing they could do, [and that I] would be stuck in my leg brace.” Plaintiff writes: “Because of this and constantly having to walk on my knee that stay in excruciating pain and swollen twice its size I fear I will be permanently disabled.” Plaintiff states that despite numerous pleas for help, “the facility refuses to do anything to assist me.”

         Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant Dossett has recommended that he be prescribed medications for his diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but that these “have repeatedly been denied despite numerous grievances and cries for help.”

         Plaintiff states that he is suing Defendants Maglinger and Jones for “superior liability.” As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief in the form of a transfer to Kentucky State Reformatory.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Because Plaintiff is a prisoner seeking relief against governmental entities, officers, and/or employees, this Court must review the instant action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, 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 § 1915A(b)(1), (2); McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 544 U.S. 199 (2007). In order to survive dismissal for failure to state a claim, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).

         “[A] district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.” Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)). “[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). However, while liberal, this standard of review does require more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions. See Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995). The Court's duty “does not require [it] to conjure up unpled allegations, ” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979), or to create a claim for a plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975). To command otherwise would require the Court “to explore exhaustively all potential claims of a pro se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the district court from its legitimate advisory role to the improper role of an advocate seeking out the strongest arguments and most successful strategies for a party.” Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Section 1983 creates no substantive rights but merely provides remedies for deprivations of rights established elsewhere. Flint ex rel. Flint v. Ky. Dep't of Corr., 270 F.3d 340, 351 (6th Cir. 2001). Two elements are required to state a claim under § 1983. Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). “A plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). “Absent either element, a § 1983 claim will not lie.Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).

         A. Official-Capacity Claims

         “[O]fficial-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. New York City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 n.55 (1978)). Thus, Plaintiff's official-capacity claims against Defendants Maglinger and Jones are actually against Daviess County. See, e.g., Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 440 (6th Cir. 2008) (stating ...


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