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Upshaw v. Jones

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

December 5, 2014

MICHAEL G. UPSHAW, Plaintiff,
v.
BRENDA JONES, ET AL., Defendants.

ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND

JAMES D. TODD, District Judge.

On July 11, 2014, Plaintiff Michael G. Upshaw, an inmate in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction ("TDOC") at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary in Henning, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, accompanied by a motion seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) In an order issued July 14, 2014, the Court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 4.) The Clerk shall record the Defendants as former WTSP Warden Brenda Jones, Sergeant Dustin Chumbly, and Lieutenant Matthew Hayles. Each Defendant is sued in his or her individual and official capacities. (ECF No. 1 at 1.)

The factual allegations of the complaint are as follows:

On 12/19/13 Ofc./Lt. Matthew Hayles seized Plaintiff of his liberty without probably cause or due process of law. The Plaintiff was placed in solitary confinement against his will for a lengthy amount of time. Lt. Matthew Hayles refused to properly investigate crime before he charged Plaintiff with misconduct.
The Plaintiff informed disciplinary chair person Sgt. Dustin Chumbly that the day of this crime and time, he was in the kitchen and the inmates that was involve, gave statements under oath stating Plaintiff did not participate in incident #01064484.
Sgt. Chumbly convicted the inmate in callous of Plaintiff's rights.
Wareden Brenda Jones knows of my claim stating my rights being violated, but the Warden is acting with deliberate indifference towards Plaintiff's constitutional rights.

( Id. at 4-5.) Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. ( Id. at 6.)

The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the complaint-

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the standards under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007), are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). "Accepting all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, the Court consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.'" Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681). "[P]leadings that... are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 ("Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a showing, ' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant could satisfy the requirement of providing not only fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also grounds' on which the claim rests.").

"A complaint can be frivolous either factually or legally." Hill, 630 F.3d at 470 (citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989)). "Any complaint that is legally frivolous would ipso facto fail to state a claim upon which ...


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