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Colvin v. Lynn

October 23, 2007

ADAM DUANNE COLVIN AND DONALD GUY PARRIS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
SGT. ANTHONY LYNN AND BOBBY CREAL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Curtis L. Collier

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiffs Adam Duanne Colvin ("Colvin") and Donald Guy Parris ("Parris") are inmates at the Bradley County Justice Center in Cleveland, Tennessee. Plaintiffs originally filed this action in the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division. Plaintiffs' claims arose from and involve matters solely related to their confinement at the Bradley County Justice Center. The Middle District transferred the case to this Court because this prison is located in Bradley County which lies within the Eastern District of Tennessee. Plaintiffs were assessed the $350.00 filing fee by the Middle District Court.

Plaintiffs contend another inmate, Bobby Creal ("Creal"), threatened them with bodily harm if they did not give up there trustee position to him. Plaintiffs' grievance to Sgt. Lynn ("Lynn") was ignored. Plaintiffs seek to have "charges brought on" the defendants. (Court File No. 1-2)

For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiffs' complaint (Court File No. 1-2) will be DISMISSED.

I. Standard of Review

Pro se pleadings filed in civil rights cases are liberally construed and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993); Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982); Pilgrim v. Littlefield, 92 F.3d 413, 416 (6th Cir. 1996); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991). However, pro se status does not exempt the plaintiff from the requirement that he comply with relevant rules of procedural and substantive law. Hulsey v. State of Texas, 929 F.2d 168, 171 (5th Cir. 1991); Birl v. Estelle, 660 F.2d 592, 593 (5th Cir. 1981). Pro se plaintiffs must comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure which provides that a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. . . ." LRL Properties v. Portage Metro Housing Authority, 55 F.3d 1097, 1104 (6th Cir. 1995). Although the standard of review is liberal, it does require more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions. Lillard v. Shelby County Bd. Of Educ., 76 F.3d 716, 726 (6th Cir. 1996) (standard of review for dismissing a complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)-failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted); LRL Properties, 55 F.3d at 1103-04; Allard v. Weitzman (In re DeLorean Motor Co.), 991 F.2d 1236, 1240 (6th Cir. 1993); Hartfield v. East Grand Rapids Public Schools, 960 F. Supp. 1259, 1268 (W.D. Mich. 1997). The complaint must give the defendants fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. Lillard, 76 F.3d at 726; Gazette v. City of Pontiac, 41 F.3d 1061, 1064 (6th Cir. 1994). "In practice, 'a . . . complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory.'" Lillard, 76 F.3d at 726 (citations omitted). Additionally, the Court screens the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) & 1915A.

B. Screening Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A

When screening a prisoner complaint, a district court must examine both § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A. If the civil action seeks redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, the district court must dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, which (a) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or (b) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from monetary relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Should the complaint contain any allegations that do not fall within § 1915A, the district court must then examine the complaint under § 1915(e)(2). The requirements of §1915(e)(2) overlap the criteria of § 1915A. Section 1915A is restricted to prisoners who sue government entities, officers, or employees. In contrast, § 1915(e)(2) is restricted neither to actions brought by prisoners, nor to cases involving government defendants. Further, § 1915A is applicable at the initial stage of the litigation, while § 1915(e)(2) is applicable throughout the entire litigation process. A case that may not initially appear to meet §1915(e)(2) may be dismissed at a future date should it become apparent that the case satisfies this section. Thus, in prisoner cases, the district court must first examine a complaint under § 1915A and then review the complaint under § 1915(e)(2) before the case can proceed in due course. A district court is required to screen all civil cases brought by prisoners, regardless of whether the inmate paid the full filing fee, is a pauper, is pro se, or is represented by counsel as the statute does not differentiate between various civil actions brought by prisoners. The dismissal of a complaint under §1915(e)(2) or § 1915A does not negate a prisoner's obligation to pay the filing fee in accordance with § 1915(b)(1)- (2). See In re Tyler, 110 F.3d [528,] 529-30 [8th Cir. 1997]. We make it explicit: a court's responsibility under the Prison Litigation Act is to first examine the financial status of a prisoner and make the assessment of fees. After the fees have been assessed, the merits of a complaint or appeal may be reviewed. Our mandate, however, does not prevent a district court from making the fee assessment and conducting the screening process in the same opinion or order.

McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir. 1997).

II. Facts

The Court reviews the record in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs and assumes the allegations are factually correct. Plaintiffs make the following claim:

On 4-22-07 Inmate Bobby Creal threatened me by saying that if I did not give up my trustee position to him that he was going to drag me into my cell and F[_ _ _] me and he said that he would get away with it because his uncle was a captian [sic] in this Jail[.] Once my cellmate Donald Parris witnessed the incident and after I wrote a grievance to Sgt. Lynn nothing was done to separate this inmate from me. [Court File No. 1-2, at 5].

Although Plaintiffs Colvin and Parris signed the complaint as plaintiffs, it appears that Colvin is actually the plaintiff and Parris is the witness. Nevertheless, neither party is ...


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