Abernathy v. Rowland et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION OF THE COURT. Signed by District Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 9/5/2017. (xc:Pro se party by regular mail. ) (DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(mg)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
CAVORIS D. ABERNATHY,
SHERIFF BUCKY ROWLAND, et al.,
The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, is a pre-trial detainee at the Maury County Jail in Columbia,
Tennessee. He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Bucky Rowland, Sheriff of
Maury County; and three members of his staff (Officers Glyeze, Covington and Hudson); seeking
a transfer to another jail and damages.
The plaintiff has been classified for “super protective custody” and lives in a cell by himself.
Docket Entry No. 1 at 6. On August 7, 2017, he was scheduled to appear in court. Officer Glyeze
placed the plaintiff in shackles and moved him to a holding cell to await transportation to the
courthouse. Id. Other inmates who also had court dates were moved to the same cell. The plaintiff
claims that one of these inmates attacked him. Id.
After the attack, the plaintiff was returned to his cell. Id. He was not taken to court that day
because it was thought that he had initiated the altercation with the other inmate. Id. No claims are
made against Sheriff Rowland. The plaintiff does believe that Officer Glyeze is liable for placing
him in a cell with other inmates. Id. He also alleges that Officers Covington and Hudson were
negligent for placing his security status on a board in the booking room where other inmates could
see it and for failing to protect him from harm. Id.
This action is being brought against the defendants in their official capacities only. Id. at 2-3.
Because the plaintiff in an official capacity action seeks damages not from the individually named
defendants but from the entity for which the defendants are agents, Pusey v. City of Youngstown,
11 F.3d 652,657 (6th Cir.1993), “an official capacity suit is, in all respects other than name, to be
treated as a suit against the entity.” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159,166 (1985). In essence, then,
the plaintiff’s claims are not against the defendants. Rather, the plaintiff’s claims are against Maury
County, the municipal entity that operates the Maury County Jail. Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 25
A claim of governmental liability requires a showing that the misconduct complained of
came about pursuant to a policy, statement, regulation, decision or custom promulgated by Maury
County or its agent, the Maury County Sheriff’s Department. Monell v. New York City Department
of Social Services, 98 S.Ct. 2018 (1978). In short, for Maury County to be liable under § 1983, there
must be a direct causal link between an official policy or custom and the alleged constitutional
violation. City of Canton v. Harris, 109 S.Ct. 1197 (1989). To establish the requisite causal link, the
plaintiff has to “identify the policy, connect the policy to the county itself and show that the
particular injury was incurred because of the execution of that policy”. Garner v. Memphis Police
Department, 8 F.3d 358, 363-64 (6th Cir.1993).
The plaintiff has offered nothing to suggest that his rights were violated pursuant to a policy
or regulation of Maury County that led to him being attacked by another prisoner. Consequently, the
plaintiff has failed to state a claim against the defendants acting in their official capacities.
In the absence of an actionable claim, the Court is obliged to dismiss the complaint sua
sponte. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
An appropriate order will be entered.
ENTER this 5th day of September 2017.
Aleta A. Trauger
United States District Judge
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