United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JEFFREY J. HELMICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se Plaintiff filed this action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
(“ODRC”) Gary Mohr, Toledo Correctional
Institution (“ToCI”) Warden John Coleman, and
ToCI Corrections Officer Ashley Bentham. In the Complaint,
Plaintiff alleges Bentham closed his hand in a cell door
causing him injury. He seeks monetary damages.
alleges Bentham assaulted him in the day room. He contends he
cooked his food in the microwave with permission from a male
corrections officer. When he attempted to put his cup in the
doorway of his cell, Bentham slammed the door on his hand and
broke his knuckles. He indicates he asked for medical
attention but Bentham denied his request. He was eventually
taken to an outside hospital and treated for nerve damage and
a broken hand. He seeks monetary damages for assault,
intentional infliction of emotional distress and retaliation
for reporting the incident.
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag
v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam);
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), I am
required to dismiss an in forma pauperis action
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) if it fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or if it lacks an arguable
basis in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319 (1989); Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196 (6th
Cir. 1990); Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99
F.3d 194, 197 (6th Cir. 1996). A claim lacks an arguable
basis in law or fact when it is premised on an indisputably
meritless legal theory or when the factual contentions are
clearly baseless. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. A cause
of action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted when it lacks “plausibility in the
Complaint.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 564 (2007).
pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662,
677-78 (2009). The factual allegations in the pleading must
be sufficient to raise the right to relief above the
speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations
in the Complaint are true. Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S.
at 555. The Plaintiff is not required to include detailed
factual allegations, but must provide more than “an
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
pleading that offers legal conclusions or a simple recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not meet this
pleading standard. Id. In reviewing a Complaint, I
must construe the pleading in the light most favorable to the
Plaintiff. Bibbo v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 151
F.3d 559, 561 (6th Cir. 1998).
initial matter, Plaintiff lists three Defendants but
identifies only Bentham in the Complaint. There are no
allegations against any of the other Defendants. Plaintiff
cannot establish the liability of any Defendant absent a
clear showing that the Defendant was personally involved in
the activities which form the basis of the alleged
unconstitutional behavior. Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S.
362, 371 (1976); Mullins v. Hainesworth, No.
95-3186, 1995 WL 559381 (6th Cir. Sept. 20, 1995). Because
the Complaint does not contain any allegations connecting
Mohr or Coleman to Plaintiff's claims for relief, they
are dismissed from this action.
addition, Plaintiff requests damages for retaliation after
reporting the incident. He does not allege any facts to
support this assertion. The Complaint must give the
Defendants fair notice of what the Plaintiff's claims are
and the grounds upon which they rest. Bassett v. National
Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426, 437 (6th
Cir. 2008). His retaliation claim fails to meet this basic
pleading standard and is dismissed.
allegations of assault could be construed either as an
attempt to assert an Eighth Amendment claim against Bentham,
or an attempt to assert a state tort law claim for assault.
Because pro se pleadings are liberally construed, I
will consider both claims as asserted in this Complaint.
These claims, as well as Plaintiff's tort claim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress are sufficiently
pled to meet the basic pleading requirements of Federal Civil
Procedure Rule 8 and state a plausible claim for relief. This
action shall proceed solely on those claims against Bentham.
considered and examined the pro se Plaintiff's
pleadings to determine their legal viability, I conclude they
fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
against Mohr and Coleman, and fail to state a claim for
retaliation. Those claims and those Defendants are dismissed
from this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). I
certify, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an
appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith.
This case shall proceed solely on Plaintiff's Eighth
Amendment claim, and his state law tort claims of assault and
intentional infliction of emotional distress against Bentham.
The Clerk's ...