PIKEVILLE – A federal case against the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center has been dismissed due to a filing error.
On November 2 Lance David Puckett, of Royalton, filed a civil complaint with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Pikeville Division, against the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center, in Paintsville. Within the complaint, Puckett alleges that on November 11, 2016, he was forcibly sodomized by another inmate and the staff failed to prevent, intervene, or provide treatment after the incident occurred.
Puckett, who was proceeding in the case without a lawyer, was seeking more than $75,000 in damages, citing ongoing medical treatment and damages for pain and suffering.
In an opinion and ordered issued by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Karen Caldwell, granted Puckett’s motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, waiving the filing and administrative fees in the case.
Judge Caldwell dismissed the case, stating, “Puckett lists the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center as the only defendant in this action, and that facility is simply a building and not a person or legal entity which may be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.”
Given that the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center is a correctional facility operated by four counties in Eastern Kentucky, Caldwell also stated in the order, “Plus, even if the Court construes Puckett’s complaint as alleging claims against one of the counties that operates the detention center, Puckett is not complaining about a county policy or custom and, therefore, he fails to state a claim for relief against a county.”
In the order issued on November 14, the case was dismissed with prejudice.
On November 17 in a press release issued by Big Sandy Regional Detention Center Administrator F.D. Pete Fitzpatrick, the jail announced the dismissal and noted that Jonathan C. Shaw, J.D., M.B.A., of the firm Porter, Banks, Baldwin & Shaw, PLLC, successfully defended the suit that had been filed in federal court.