United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
BILLY J. COVINGTON, Plaintiff,
ANTHONY CADOGAN, et al., Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
STEPHANIE K. BOWMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an inmate at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF),
has filed a pro se civil rights complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C.' 1983 against SOCF officials. This civil
action is now before the Court on Defendant SOCF Unit Manager
Jeremy Oppy's motion for judgment on the pleadings (Doc.
19) and the parties' responsive memoranda (Docs. 22, 25).
Upon careful review, the undersigned finds that
Defendant's motion is well-taken and should be granted.
Background and Facts
alleges that on April 26, 2018, Defendant Oppy violated his
First Amendment and Equal Protection rights by denying him an
opportunity to purchase a prayer rug. (Doc. 8). Plaintiff
states that he filed a kite to Defendant Oppy asking if he
could purchase a prayer rug. Id. Plaintiff claims
that Defendant Oppy stated that he could only have one towel
that was already issued to him. Id. Plaintiff states
that he then filed an Informal Complaint to Anthony Cadogan
and was again denied due to prison policy. Id.
seeks an injunction to “grant all Muslim inmates the
right to purchase Muslim prayer rugs” and notes that he
is suing the Defendant in an individual capacity. (Doc. 8,
PageID55). Plaintiff also claims that this incident has
caused “extreme hardship” while practicing his
religion and requests $20, 000 in punitive damages per
25, 2018, Plaintiff filed the Complaint against Defendants
Anthony Cadogen and Jeremy Oppy. (Doc 1). On October 5, 2018,
Plaintiff filed an identical complaint with a jury demand,
which was served to Defendant. (Doc. 8). Upon sua sponte
review by the court, the claims against Defendant Cadogen
were dismissed for failure to state a claim but allowed the
claims against Defendant Oppy concerning Plaintiff's
religious and equal protection rights to proceed. (Doc. 9,
Oppy now moves for judgment on the pleadings. The motion is
well-taken and should be granted
Standard of Review
survive a motion for judgment on the pleadings, a complaint
must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Court must construe the complaint
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept all
well-pleaded material allegations in the complaint as true.
Roth Steel Products v. Sharon Steel Corporation, 705
F.2d 134, 155 (6th Cir. 1983). However, the court need not
accept as true legal conclusions or unwarranted factual
inferences. Lewis v. ACB Business Seru., Inc., 135
F.3d 389, 405 (6th Cir. 1988); Morgan v. Church's
Fried Chicken, 829 F.2d 10, 12 (6th Cir. 1987). It is
not enough that the complaint contains “an unadorned,
the defendant-unlawfully harmed-me accusation.”
Ashcroft v. Igbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Conclusory statements which recite a cause of action are not
sufficient. Id. The complaint must contain more than
allegations the defendant may have possibly acted unlawfully.
Even allegations that are consistent with a defendant's
liability are insufficient. Id. Instead, the
complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Id. See also Corie v.
Alcoa Wheel & Forget Products, 577 F.3d 625 (6th
Cir. 2009). If it is not plausible that the factual
allegations will lead to the requested relief, the defendant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Oppy contends that Plaintiff's Complaint fails on a
number of fronts. First, a pro se plaintiff cannot represent
others in a class action lawsuit. Second, Plaintiff cannot
seek an injunction when suing a defendant in an individual
capacity. Third, Plaintiff has not met the requirements of
the PLRA. Lastly, Plaintiff is barred by qualified immunity.
Defendant's assertions will be addressed in turn.
Class Action/Injunctive Relief
noted above, Plaintiff's complaint seeks "grant 
all Muslim inmates the right to purchase Muslim prayer
rug." (Doc. 8, at PageID 55). Defendant argues however,
that a pro se plaintiff cannot represent a larger class of