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Taylor v. Clark

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

December 13, 2019

DEWIGHT TAYLOR Plaintiff
v.
ERIC CLARK et al. Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          REBECCA GRADY JENNINGS, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is a pro se civil-rights action brought by a pretrial detainee pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This matter is before the Court for screening of Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Upon consideration, the Court will allow one claim to proceed, dismiss Plaintiff's other claims, and allow him the opportunity to amend his complaint.

         I.

         Plaintiff Dewight Taylor is incarcerated at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC). Plaintiff names as Defendants in this action LMDC Director Eric Clark and LMDC “Grievance Counselor” Sharon Shipley. Plaintiff sues these Defendants in their official capacities only.

         Plaintiff first alleges that he has “filed about black mold, rust, and bacteria to prevent these to my lungs, other people lungs, because I have real bad breathing problems at times. . . . [Defendant] Clark has the responsibility to not violate my right, but [he] continues to violate me no regards.” Plaintiff further alleges that “this facility is [] infested with insects which cause physical harm to a human ([illegible] cockroaches, magets and fruit flies).” Plaintiff also writes “7/11/2019 not meeting state requirement calorie intake for inmates.” Plaintiff states that “these are all signs of cruel and unusual punishment which cannot be done [Defendant] Clark continues to violate my Eighth Amendment.”

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Shipley violated his rights by failing to give him the form he needed to appeal a grievance.

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive relief in the form of release from incarceration.

         II.

         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.

         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 section 1983 claim will not lie.” Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).

         A. Conditions-of-Confinement

         The Eighth Amendment provides a convicted inmate the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides the same protections to pretrial detainees. Richmond v. Huq, 885 F.3d 928, 937 (6th Cir. 2018) (citing Richko v. Wayne Cty., 819 F.3d 907, 915 (6th Cir. 2016)). The Sixth Circuit has “historically analyzed Fourteenth Amendment pretrial detainee claims and Eighth Amendment prisoner claims ...


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