Rufus v. Sheldon
Memorandum of Opinion and Order For the reasons set forth herein, this action is dismissed under § 1915A. Furthermore, the Court certifies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. Judge Benita Y. Pearson on 2/28/2017. (JLG)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
EMMETT J. RUFUS,
ED SHELDON, Warden,
CASE NO. 4:16CV3042
JUDGE BENITA Y. PEARSON
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
Pro Se Plaintiff Emmett J. Rufus, an inmate at the Ohio State Penitentiary (“OSP”),
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant OSP Warden Ed Sheldon. Plaintiff
alleges in the Complaint (ECF No. 1) that an OSP sprinkler went off, creating wet and cold
conditions in his cell for two and a half days. He also alleges he slipped in the cell and hurt his
back. Plaintiff received an x-ray, which was negative, but alleges he is still experiencing back
pain. As relief, he seeks damages exceeding $100,000.00.
A district court is expressly required to dismiss any civil action filed by a prisoner
seeking relief from a governmental officer or entity, as soon as possible after docketing, if the
court concludes that the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if
the plaintiff seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A; Siller v. Dean, No. 99-5323, 2000 WL 145167, at *2 (6th Cir. Feb. 1, 2000).
A cause of action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted when it lacks
“plausibility in th[e] complaint.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 564 (2007). A
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) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2)). 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.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Plaintiff is not required to include detailed factual allegations, but
must provide more than “an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me 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.
Even construing the Complaint (ECF No. 1) liberally in a light most favorable to
Plaintiff, Brand v. Motley, 526 F.3d 921, 924 (6th Cir. 2008), it does not set forth a valid federal
claim. Defendant cannot be held liable for damages under § 1983 solely because he employs and
supervises prison personnel, as respondeat superior is not a proper basis for such liability. Leary
v. Daeschner, 349 F.3d 888, 903 (6th Cir. 2003); Bellamy v. Bradley, 729 F.2d 416, 421 (6th Cir.
1984). Supervisors are not liable for the actions of their employees merely because they had the
right to control those employees. Leary, 349 F.3d at 903; Bellamy, 729 F.2d at 421.
Furthermore, a supervisor’s failure to monitor the offending individual is not actionable unless
the supervisor “either encouraged the specific incident of misconduct or in some other way
directly participated in it.” Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999) (quoting Hays v.
Jefferson County, Ky., 668 F.2d 869, 874 (6th Cir. 1982)). “At a minimum, a plaintiff must
show the [supervisor] at least implicitly authorized, approved, or knowingly acquiesced in the
unconstitutional conduct of the offending [employees].” Id. (quoting Hays, 668 F.2d at 874).
The Complaint (ECF No. 1) does not contain allegations reasonably suggesting Defendant
engaged in such actions.
Accordingly, this action is dismissed under § 1915A. Furthermore, the Court certifies
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good
IT IS SO ORDERED.
February 28, 2017
/s/ Benita Y. Pearson
Benita Y. Pearson
United States District Judge
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