United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. McKinley Jr., Senior Judge
a pro se prisoner civil-rights action brought
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On July 8, 2019, the Court
entered a Memorandum Opinion and Order in which it conducted
an initial screening of Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A (DN 6). The Court construed the
complaint as asserting claims against Defendant McLean County
Sheriff Fred Coomes for unconstitutional search and seizure,
excessive force, and unlawful arrest, based on an incident
that occurred on May 7, 2019. In that Memorandum Opinion and
Order, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's official-capacity
claims against Defendant Coomes and his claims for injunctive
relief for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. The Court then stated that before it could review
Plaintiff's individual-capacity claims against Defendant
Coomes pursuant to § 1915A, it needed more information
regarding the status of the criminal charges against him.
24, 2019, Plaintiff initiated a separate § 1983 action
which contained additional allegations concerning the night
of May 7, 2019. See Gregory v. Coomes, No.
4:19-cv-P89-JHM. On August 8, 2019, the Court entered an
Order consolidating that action with the instant action, and
the complaint from that action was docketed as an amended
complaint in this action (DN 10). The Court will now conduct
a screening of the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. For the reasons set forth below, the new claims
set forth in the amended complaint will be dismissed.
SUMMARY OF AMENDED COMPLAINT
amended complaint (DN 10), Plaintiff indicates that he is
suing Defendant Coomes in both is his official and individual
capacities as well as the McLean County Sheriff's Office
first alleges that following his arrest on May 7, 2019, he
was left in the MCSO “transport” van with other
individuals “with all doors closed, all windows rolled
up, the fan turned to highest setting and the heat turned to
full blast for a period of an hour -/ 15 minutes as the van
was left running.” He continues: “It was a very
hot and humid night. We were all suffering very badly,
sweating profusely, and I almost fainted from heat exhaustion
because of this.”
next alleges that he was a victim of sexual assault on this
same night when he witnessed Defendant Coomes “put his
bare hand in side of Natasha Sallee's shirt and bra
feeling her bare breast as she protested.”
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages as
well injunctive relief.
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
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).
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).