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Hodge v. Renfrow

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky

August 22, 2019



          Joseph H. McKinley Jr., Senior Judge.

         Plaintiff Kerri Danielle Hodge filed the instant pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action proceeding in forma pauperis. Plaintiff also filed a letter (DN 6), in which she states that she has been informed that Defendant Stephen Renfrow's name is actually Wayne Renfrow. The Court construes the filing as a motion to amend the complaint. Upon review, IT IS ORDERED that the motion to amend the complaint (DN 6) is GRANTED. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2). The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to change the name of Defendant Stephen Renfrow to Wayne Renfrow in the docket sheet.

         This matter is before the Court on the initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Upon review, the Court will dismiss the action for the reasons stated herein.


         Plaintiff, a convicted inmate at the Daviess County Detention Center (DCDC), sues Stephen Renfrow, a deputy at DCDC, in his official capacity only, as well as DCDC itself.

         Plaintiff states, “In Feb 2017 I was assaulted by Deputy Renfrow.” She reports that another inmate “was trying to fight me [and] all the deputies was crowded around her. I was standing calmly alone out of nowhere Dep. Renfrow comes and pushes me. I asked why you push me Im not the aggressor. Later that night he came and tried to apologize.” She asserts that she filed grievances and was told that they were “in a blindspot[, ]” which she disputes, and that nothing was done about it.

         Plaintiff states, “Shortly after that I started having problems with spine/back.” She asserts that she filled out medical forms and was given Tylenol 3 and two mats. She asserts that when she was released from DCDC she continued to have “problems” and that she had an MRI and was sent to a neurosurgeon on March 29, 2018. She states that she had to have surgery on her spine due to her injury.

         Plaintiff further states, “I'm still having problems. This jail refuses to treat me. She just says I need better posture and too tense. I told her at the other jail I was getting off the floor and something pulled.” Plaintiff asserts, “I feel like it is cruel and unusual punishment to even be housed here b/c they are not treating me fairly because of my voice on things. Even one deputy told me when I was like they not going to let me work or do anything b/c they don't like me she said nope.” Plaintiff continues, “My right to be protected has been violated my right to receive medical also. I've filed grievances on all this even when Dep. Renfrow slammed the flap in my face. All they said on this was the incident was investigated that you claiming happened as if I made it up.” She alleges that she did not receive responses to some grievances. She states, “I feel as if my rights of life, pursuit of safety and happiness, free speech, & redress of grievances also my right no cruel & unusual punishment inflicted has all been violated. I'm not treated fairly here b/c of my voice on it.”

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

         II. STANDARD

         When a prisoner initiates a civil action seeking redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, the trial court must review the complaint and dismiss the complaint, or any portion of it, if the court determines that the complaint 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, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). 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 the plaintiff and accept all of the factual allegations as true. Prater v. City of Burnside, Ky., 289 F.3d 417, 424 (6th Cir. 2002).

         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 trial 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.

         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 claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[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)). “But the district court need not accept a ‘bare assertion of legal conclusions.'” Tackett, 561 F.3d at 488 (quoting Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir. 1995)).

         Although this Court recognizes that pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), “[o]ur duty to be ‘less stringent' with pro se complaints does not require us to conjure up unpled allegations.” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted). And this Court is not required to create a claim for 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 ...

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