United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland
CHARLES W. DOUGLAS, Plaintiff,
GREENUP CO. DET. FACILITY, et al, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. WILHOIT, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se plaintiff Charles Douglas has filed a complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging various violations of his
constitutional rights. [R. 1.] Douglas has been granted
pauper status in this proceeding [see R. 6], and his
complaint is now before the Court on a preliminary screening.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court shall dismiss any
portion of Douglas's complaint that is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Because Douglas is
proceeding without an attorney, the Court evaluates his
complaint under a more lenient standard. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Burton v.
Jones, 321 F.3d 569, 573 (6th Cir. 2003). At this stage
of the proceedings, the Court accepts Douglas's factual
allegations as true and liberally construes Douglas's
legal claims in his favor. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).
the leniency afforded to pro se plaintiffs,
Douglas's complaint must be dismissed upon screening. The
complaint alleges claims against five different defendants,
but none states a valid claim upon which relief can be
granted. To begin, Douglas claims that during an altercation
with another inmate, he yelled and screamed for Lieutenant
Richard Diamond and Deputy Tom Goble to come to his aid;
however, "neither showed up for ten minutes or
more." [R. 1 at 2.] The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
has explained that "a prison official may be held to be
deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk to inmate
safety if he is aware that an inmate is vulnerable to assault
and fails to protect him." Bishop v. Hackel,
636 F.3d 757, 767 (6th Cir. 2011). But Douglas has not
alleged that Lieutenant Diamond and Deputy Goble knew he was
at risk. Nor does he even allege that the two jail employees
could hear his yells and screams but disregarded them.
Without further indication that Lieutenant Diamond or Deputy
Goble acted intentionally in some way to cause him harm, no
§ 1983 claim against the two employees is viable.
Douglas states that as a result of arm injuries he sustained
during the altercation and "inadequacies of the facility
nurse Belinda Moore's medical treatment proficiencies,
immediate medical attention was postponed and delayed,"
which, in turn, caused a worsening of his injuries. [R. 1 at
2.] Douglas further asserts that he waited over thirty days
for "what should have been immediate surgery."
[Id.} In order to state a cognizable Eighth
Amendment claim for inadequate medical care, "both an
objective component (was the deprivation sufficiently
serious?) and a subjective component (did the officials act
with a sufficiently culpable state of mind?)" must be
proven before relief may be granted. Caldwell v.
Moore, 968 F.2d 595, 602 (6th Cir. 1992) (citing
Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294 (1991)). Even if
Douglas's arm injury rose to the level of an objectively
serious medical need, Douglas has not alleged that Nurse
Moore deliberately disregarded that serious medical
need-i.e., that she "act[ed] with a sufficiently
culpable state of mind." Id. Such an allegation
is crucial to moving forward with an Eighth Amendment
deliberate indifference claim. Without it, the facts
contained in the complaint fail to state a claim that
complaint also alleges that Jailer Mike Worthington
"failed to provide a safe environment and employ an
adequate medical staff to provide adequate medical decisions
to prevent permanent irreparable injury to [Douglas's]
right arm." [R. 1 at 3.] However, liability under §
1983 does not arise from the mere failure to supervise or
control employees. A supervisory official's failure to
supervise, control, or train the offending employees is not
actionable unless the supervisor "either encouraged the
specific incident of misconduct or in some other way directly
participated in it." Sheehee v. Luttrell, 199
F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999) (internal quotation marks
omitted). In order to recover, the Sixth Circuit has made
clear that a plaintiff must "[a]t a minimum . . . show
that the official at least implicitly authorized, approved,
or knowingly acquiesced in the unconstitutional conduct of
the offending officers." Id. Douglas has made
no such showing with respect to Jailer Worthington in this
case. [See R. 1 at 3.]
Douglas names the Greenup County Detention Center as a
defendant to his case, [R. 1 at 1], but a county jail or
detention center is not a suable entity apart from the county
that operates it. See, e.g., Watson v. Gill, 40
Fed.Appx. 88, 89 (6th Cir. 2002); Marbry v. Corr. Med.
Serv., 238 F.3d 422, 2000 WL 1720959, at *2 (6th Cir.
Nov. 6, 2000). Even construing Douglas's claim as one
against Greenup County, he makes no allegation that the
practices about which he complains are the product of a
county policy or custom, and he therefore fails to state a
claim for relief against the county. [See R. 1];
Thomas v. City of Chattanooga, 398 F.3d 426, 429
(6th Cir. 2005).
none of the allegations in Douglas's complaint state a
claim upon which relief may be granted. They are, therefore,
properly dismissed on the Court's preliminary screening.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). For the foregoing reasons, the
Court hereby ORDERS as follows:
Douglas's complaint is DISMISSED for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted;
case is CLOSED and STRICKEN
from the ...