Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ballenger v. Western Regional Jail

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington

May 14, 2018

WILLIAM J. BALLENGER, Plaintiff,
v.
WESTERN REGIONAL JAIL, et al., Defendants.

          PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          DWANE L. TINSLEY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This civil action is assigned to the Honorable Robert C. Chambers, United States District Judge, and it is referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for submission of proposed findings and a recommendation for disposition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).

         RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 20, 2018, the plaintiff filed, with leave of court, an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 54) on which this matter is now proceeding. The Amended Complaint named the Western Regional Jail, and six individual employees thereof, as defendants. By separate Order, the undersigned has ordered service of process on the individual defendants in their individual capacities. However, because the Western Regional Jail (“WRJ”), and the other defendants in their official capacities, are not persons under section 1983 and are not subject to monetary damages in federal court, the undersigned is filing this Proposed Findings and Recommendation recommending that the presiding District Judge dismiss the claims against the Western Regional Jail, and the other defendants in their official capacities, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the court is obliged to screen each case in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, and must dismiss a claim if it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, a similar screening is conducted where a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. In the instant case, both statutes are applicable.

         Pro se complaints are held to less stringent standards than those drafted by attorneys, and the court is obliged to construe liberally such complaints. However, in Bell Atlantic Corp v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), the Supreme Court observed that a case should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if, viewing the well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true and in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the complaint does not contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” While the complaint need not assert “detailed factual allegations, ” it must contain “more than labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action.” Id. at 555.

         The Supreme Court elaborated on its holding in Twombly in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009), a civil rights case. The Court wrote:

Two working principles underlie our decision in Twombly. First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice. [Twombly, 550 U.S.] at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (Although for the purposes of a motion to dismiss we must take all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true, we “are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation” (internal quotation marks omitted). Rule 8 . . . does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions. Second, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Id., at 556.
In keeping with these principles a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.

129 S.Ct. at 1949-50.

         ANALYSIS

         The WRJ is not a suable entity. Rather it is just a facility operated by the West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority (“WVRJCFA”), a state agency. However, even if the court were to liberally construe the plaintiff's claims against the WRJ to be brought against the WVRJCFA, the claims may still not proceed in this court.

         In Will v. Michigan Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989), the Supreme Court held that neither a State, including its agencies, nor its officials acting in their official capacities, are “persons” under § 1983. Furthermore, pursuant to the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, the power of the federal judiciary does not extend to suits by a citizen of one state against another, or to suits by a citizen against his or her own state. Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1, 9 (1980). Thus, the Eleventh Amendment of the United States Constitution bars a suit in a federal court by private parties seeking to impose monetary liability upon a State or State officials, which may be paid from public funds in the state treasury. Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 337 (1979). Absent consent, federal suits against ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.