United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCKINLEY JR., SENIOR JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on initial review of the pro
se, in forma pauperis 42 U.S.C. § 1983
complaint filed by Plaintiff Benjamin Tice Daugherty. The
Court must undertake a preliminary review of the complaint
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915A; 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 following reasons,
the action will be dismissed in part and allowed to continue
SUMMARY OF CLAIMS
is a pretrial detainee at the Grayson County Detention Center
(GCDC). He names as Defendants GCDC; GCDC Jailer Jason
Woosley in his official capacity; and Twin Lakes Regional
Medical Center. He alleges that on February 15, 2019, he
injured his left foot. He was taken to the GCDC medical
station later that day for an evaluation, at which time the
nurse advised him that she needed a doctor's approval
before she could send him for x-rays. He states that he
returned to his housing unit and was forced to climb to the
top bunk to go to sleep. He states that the next day he was
transported to the hospital and his foot was x-rayed,
revealing a broken bone; the next day, Plaintiff was moved to
the medical unit and remained under medical observation for
five months. According to Plaintiff, “Over the 5 months
the plaintiff was transported to several medical appointments
outside the jail. The outside doctors suggested seeing the
plaintiff every 2 weeks for checkups but was only seen about
once a month.” He alleges that during a visit with the
outside doctors, one of the doctors told him that his foot
was healing properly and to continue using crutches.
Plaintiff states that he followed the doctor's advice,
but at another checkup “an additional x-ray reveals the
injury is not healing properly after all and scar tissue is
preventing the injury from making positive progress.”
states that he was referred to a specialist who ordered a
physical exam, blood work, and a bone stimulator but that he
was never taken for the exam and the bone stimulator was
never ordered. However, he states that he returned to the
specialist at a later date and was told that his injury is
now healing properly and that surgery is not needed but that
if the pain persisted he should return to the specialist and
be reevaluated for surgery. Plaintiff states that, at this
point, he was held in GCDC's medical observation for two
more weeks. Plaintiff alleges that he has been in continuous
pain, now worse than ever. He alleges, “The foot needs
to be rebroken at this point and would cause further pain and
suffering . . . being denied proper medical care due to the
fact that the cost of his medical treatment and security
protocol are trumping the importance of his physical
health.” He also alleges that “if he were no[t]
incarcerated he would have had been scheduled for surgery
during his initial evaluation by the specialist
relief, Plaintiff asks for monetary and punitive damages.
review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, this Court must dismiss
a case at any time if the Court determines that the action 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. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. 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.
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
complaint, or portion thereof, should be dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
“only if it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff
can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would
entitle him to relief.” Brown v. Bargery, 207
F.3d 863, 867 (6th Cir. 2000). 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).
GCDC and Woosley
not a “person” subject to suit under § 1983
because municipal departments, such as jails, are not suable
under § 1983. See Rhodes v. McDannel, 945 F.2d
117, 120 (6th Cir. 1991) (holding that a police department
may not be sued under § 1983). In this situation, it is
Grayson County that is the proper defendant in this case.
Smallwood v. Jefferson Cty. Gov't, 743 F.Supp.
502, 503 (W.D. Ky. 1990) (construing claims brought against
the Jefferson County Government, the Jefferson County Fiscal
Court, and the Jefferson County Judge Executive as claims
against Jefferson County itself). Further, Grayson County is
a “person” for purposes of § 1983.
Monell v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S.
Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Woosley, the GCDC
Jailer, in his official capacity should be construed as
brought against the governmental entity, i.e.,
Grayson County. Will v. Mich. Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989). The Court will therefore
construe the claims against Defendants GCDC and Woosley as
brought against Grayson County.
§ 1983 claim is made against a municipality, like
Grayson County, a court must analyze two distinct issues: (1)
whether the plaintiff's harm was caused by a
constitutional violation; and (2) if so, whether the
municipality is responsible for that violation. Collins
v. City of Harker Heights, Tex., 503 U.S. 115,
120 (1992). The Court will address the issues in reverse
municipality cannot be held liable solely because it
employs a tortfeasor - or, in other words, a municipality
cannot be held liable under § 1983 on a respondeat
superior theory.” Monell, 436 U.S. at 691
(1978) (emphasis in original); Searcy v. City of
Dayton, 38 F.3d 282, 286 (6th Cir. 1994); Berry v.
City of Detroit, 25 F.3d 1342, 1345 (6th Cir. 1994).
“[T]he touchstone of ‘official policy' is
designed ‘to distinguish acts of the
municipality from acts of employees of the
municipality, and thereby make clear that municipal liability
is limited to action for which the municipality is actually