Higgins v. Miller et al, No. 0:2018cv00048 - Document 9 (E.D. Ky. 2018)

Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER: 1) Higgins's civil rights claims against the defendants in their official capacities 1 are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE; 2) all pending motions are DENIED AS MOOT; 3) this action is STRICKEN from the Court's active docket; and 4) a judgment will be entered this date. Signed by Judge Henry R. Wilhoit, Jr on 4/19/18.(JLS)cc: COR, pro se Higgins (via US Mail)
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Higgins v. Miller et al Doc. 9 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY NORTHERN DIVISION at ASHL:AND I KEVIN HIGGINS, Plaintiff, v. DONNA MILLER and KA THY LITTERAL, Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) Civil No. 18-048-HRW MEMO~NDUM OPINION AND ORDER *** *** *** *** Kevin Higgins is an inmate at the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex, a state prison located in West Liberty, Kentucky. Proceeding without a lawyer, Higgins filed a civil rights complaint against two prison employees. [D. E. No. 1]. Higgins indicates that he is suing the defendants only in their official capacities, and he is seeking $100,000 in damages. [D. E. No. 1 at 2, 6]. This Court, however, will dismiss Higgins's ' official capacity claims. Notwithstanding its label, an "official capacity" claim against a state officer is not a claim against the officer arising out of his or her conduct as an employee of the state, but is actually a claim directly against the state ager:icy which employs them. Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 439-40 (6th Cir. 2008); Alkire v. Irving, 330 F.3d 802, 810 (6th Cir. 2003) ("While personal-capacity suits seek to impose 1 Dockets.Justia.com personal liability upon a government official for actions ~e takes under color of state law, individuals sued in their official capacities stand in the shoes of the entity they represent.") (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, :Higgins's official capacity claims are civil rights claims against the Kentucky 0epartment of Corrections (KDOC). The KDOC, however, is not subject to suit in federal court under§ 1983. That I is because a state agency like the KDOC is not a "person" subject to liability under § 1983 and because the Eleventh Amendment deprives federal district courts of subject matter jurisdiction over a claim for money damages against a state and its agencies. Gibbons v. Kentucky Dept. ofCorrections, No. 3:07CV-P697-S, 2008 WL 412847, at* 1 (W.D. Ky. Sept. 4, 2008) (citing Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Auth. v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., 506 U.S. 139, 687-88 (1993) ("Absent waiver, neither a state nor agencies acting under its control may be subject to suit in federal court.") (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)); Scott v. Kentucky Department of Corrections, No. 08-CV-104-HRW, 2008 WL 4083002!, at *2 (E.D. Ky. Aug. 29, 2008) ("The Eleventh Amendment has also been interpreted to extend immunity to state employees sued for damages in their official capacities."). As a result, the Court will dismiss Higgins's claims, as they are only brought against the defendants in their official capacities. Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that: 2 1. Higgins's civil rights claims against the defendants in their official I capacities [D. E. No. 1] are DISMISSED ~ITH PREJUDICE. 2. All pending motions are DENIED AS MO,OT. 3. This action is STRICKEN from the Court's active docket. 4. A corresponding Judgment will be entered this date. This / 9./!ctay of April, 2018. 3