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Horton v. Erwin County Jail

July 23, 2007

MARK ALLEN HORTON
v.
ERWIN COUNTY JAIL; SHERIFF'S DEPT., CITY OF ERWIN, AND KENT HARRIS



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

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

Mark Allen Horton, a prisoner now confined in the Washington County Detention Center, brings this pro se civil rights action for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the conditions to which he allegedly was subjected while he was housed in the jail in Erwin, Tennessee.

I. The Filing Fee

Because plaintiff is a prisoner, he is assessed the filing fee of three hundred, fifty dollars ($350). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1), the custodian of plaintiff's inmate trust account at the institution where he now resides is directed to submit to the Clerk of Court, as an initial partial payment, twenty percent (20%) of the greater of either:

(1) the average monthly deposits to plaintiff's inmate trust account or

(2) the average monthly balance in the inmate trust account, for the six (6) months immediately preceding the filing of the complaint.

After full payment of the initial partial filing fee, the custodian shall submit twenty percent (20%) of plaintiff's preceding monthly income credited to the account, but only when the amount in the account exceeds ten dollars ($10.00), until the full filing fee has been paid.*fn1 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).

The Clerk is DIRECTED to send a copy of this order to the custodian of plaintiff's inmate trust account at the facility where he is presently housed and to George Little, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction.

II. The Complaint

In the complaint, plaintiff states his claim as follows: "The Erwin Jail, and Sherriff allowed inmates to threated my life. Discriminate my privilegeds and deny my religion exercise. Caused my to sleep on the floor in a overcrowed jail. I slept in a 16 bed dorm, with 32 inmates. Unsanitory cell, bathroom, toilet and shower. Very nasty in whole cell block. Jailor handed out medicine, getting it mixed up. Discriminated, and threaten me because of the color of my skin." (Compl., at ¶ IV).

III. Screening the Complaint

The Court must now review the complaint to determine whether it states a claim entitling plaintiff to relief or is frivolous or malicious or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A; McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 607 (6th Cir. 1997). If so, this suit (or individual defendants or claims against them) must be dismissed.

A. Defendants

At the outset, two defendants named by plaintiff are non-suable entities. The Erwin County Jail is a building, the Sheriff's Department [of Unicoi County] has no legal or corporate existence apart from Unicoi County, and neither defendant is a "person" within the meaning of § 1983 who can be sued under § 1983. See Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 688-90 (1978); Cage v. Kent County Correctional Facility, 113 F.3d 1234, 1997 WL 225647, **1 (6th Cir. May 1, 1997) (jail is not a suable ...


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