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White v. Bivens

December 20, 2007

SHAWN WHITE #154957, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHIEF R. BIVENS, CAPT. R. WILSON, AND TOM GREGORY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas A. Varlan United States District Judge

(VARLAN/GUYTON)

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

The court is in receipt of a pro se prisoner's civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an application to proceed in forma pauperis. It appears from the application that the plaintiff lacks sufficient financial resources to pay the $350.00 filing fee. Accordingly, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(4), the Clerk is DIRECTED to file this action without the prepayment of costs or fees or security therefor as of the date the complaint was received. However, for the reasons stated below, process shall not issue and this action is DISMISSED.

Plaintiff is an inmate in the Knox County Detention Facility. His complaint concerns an alleged lack of adequate food for the inmates in the facility. As defendants, plaintiff has named three jail officials in their official capacity only. Because the defendants have been sued only in their official capacity, the court must proceed as if plaintiff has in fact sued Knox County, Tennessee. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 (1985); Brandon v. Holt, 469 U.S. 464, 471 (1985); Monell v. Department of Social Services of City of New York, 463 U.S. 658, 690 n.55 (1978). Given that, in order to prevail plaintiff must demonstrate that the violation of his constitutional rights resulted from acts representing official policy or custom adopted by Knox County, Tennessee. Monell, 463 U.S. at 690-91; Leach v. Shelby County Sheriff, 891 F.2d 1241, 1245-46 (6th Cir. 1989).

Plaintiff does not allege that the violation of his rights was the result of any policy or custom on the part of the Knox County, Tennessee. Although this court is mindful that a pro se complaint is to be liberally construed, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972), it appears beyond doubt that plaintiff can prove no set of facts which would entitle him to relief, Malone v. Colyer, 710 F.2d 258 (6th Cir. 1983), and that plaintiff's claim lacks an arguable basis in law and fact, Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Therefore, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A, this action is DISMISSED sua sponte, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under § 1983. The court CERTIFIES that any appeal from this action would not be taken in good faith and would be totally frivolous. See Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Because the plaintiff is an inmate in the Knox County Detention Facility, he is herewith ASSESSED the civil filing fee of $350.00. 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 is directed to submit to the Clerk, U.S. District Court, 800 Market Street, Suite 130, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902, as an initial partial payment, whichever is greater of:

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

(b) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly balance in the plaintiff's 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 the plaintiff's trust account for the preceding month), but only when such monthly income exceeds ten dollars ($10.00), until the full filing fee of three hundred fifty dollars ($350.00) as authorized under 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) has been paid to the Clerk. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).

The Clerk is DIRECTED to send a copy of this Memorandum and Order to the Sheriff of Knox County, Tennessee, and the Knox County Law Director to ensure that the custodian of the plaintiff's inmate trust account complies with that portion of the Prison Litigation Reform Act relating to payment of the filing fee. The Clerk is further DIRECTED to forward a copy of this Memorandum and Order to the court's financial deputy.

20071220

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