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Hale v. Burns

July 10, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Ronnie Greer United States District Judge


Proceeding pro se, state prisoner Phillip D. Hale brings this civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he was denied medical care and a special diet while he was confined in the Greene County Detention Center (GCDC). The plaintiff is ASSESSED the civil filing fee of three hundred and fifty dollars ($350.00). 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)(A) and (B), the custodian of the plaintiff's inmate trust account at the institution where he now resides shall submit, as an initial partial payment, whichever is the greater of:

(a) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly deposits to the plaintiff's inmate trust account;


(b) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly balance in his inmate trust account for the six-month period preceding the filing of the complaint.

Thereafter, the custodian shall submit twenty percent (20%) of the plaintiff's preceding monthly income (or income credited to his trust account for the preceding month), but only when such monthly income exceeds $10.00, until the plaintiff has paid the $350 filing fee in full to the Clerk's Office.*fn1 McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 14 F.3d 601, 607 (6th Cir. 1997).

The Clerk is DIRECTED to send a copy of this memorandum and order to the custodian of inmate trust accounts at the facility wherein the plaintiff is confined, and to George Little, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction, to ensure compliance with the above fee-assessment procedures.

In his complaint, the plaintiff alleges that he is a diabetic and that he has been denied medical attention; has been denied treatment for mental health problems; refused medication [or has not received it due to someone's negligence]; harassed about his medication; and offered a regular diet instead of a special diabetic diet. For these alleged constitutional violations, the plaintiff would have the Court "correct the situation;" move him to a facility with the capacity to attend to his medical needs; and award him $100,000 for his suffering.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, a district court is to review a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental defendant and, if the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, to dismiss it. A screening of the complaint, as required in 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, reveals that the complaint should not be served upon the defendants and, for the reasons expressed below, should be dismissed.

For ease of discussion, the Court has grouped the plaintiff's claims into categories.

1. Claims arising on March 14, 2006.

A. Inferred Claim for Unreasonable Search: In this claim, the plaintiff contends that, on this date, he was "shook down for sycodic med's." This skeletal allegation is conclusory and a court need not conjure up facts not pled to support conclusory allegations. Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.2d 434, 437 (6th Cir.1988). Even if the plaintiff's bare assertion were read as an implied claim of an infringement on his Fourth Amendment right not to be subjected to an unreasonable search, an inmate's cell may be searched without violating the Fourth Amendment because a prisoner has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his cell. Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 525-26 (1984). Furthermore, assuming that an inmate retains some privacy rights in prison, the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the search of an inmate's person, so long as the search is reasonable in scope, manner, and location; is reasonably related to a valid penological goal; and is not performed for a wrongful purpose, such as to humiliate or degrade a prisoner. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 558-59 (1970) (finding that visual body-cavity searches of pretrial detainees was reasonable); Grummett v. Rushen, 779 F.2d 491, 495-96 (9th Cir. 1985) (pat-down searches reasonable); Madyun v. Franzen, 704 F.2d 954, 957 (1983) (frisk search is reasonable). Given the paucity of the plaintiff's factual allegations, no (inferred) Fourth Amendment claim has been stated.

B. Threats

The plaintiff maintains that, also on March 4, 2006, he was threatened by Defendant Nurse Christy. These allegations, likewise, do not show any constitutional deprivations. The Constitution does not shield an inmate from verbal abuse, Ivey v. Wilson, 832 F.2d 950, 954-55 (6th Cir.1987), or minor threats. ...

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