United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
CHARLES W. DALTON, Plaintiff,
SERGEANT HENELY, ET AL., Defendants.
ORDER TO MODIFY THE DOCKET, DENYING MOTION FOR A TRO OR PRELMINARY INJUNCTION, DISMISSING CASE, CERTIFYING THAT AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF APPELLATE FILING FEE
JAMES D. TODD, District Judge.
On September 16, 2014, the pro se Plaintiff, Charles W. Dalton, Tennessee Department of Correction ("TDOC"), who is currently incarcerated at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary ("WTSP") in Henning, Tennessee,  filed a "Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for a TRO and Preliminary Injunction, " which the Clerk docketed as a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (ECF No. 1), and an "Order to Show Cause for an [sic] Preliminary Injunction or a Temporary Restraining Order, " which was docketed as a motion for a temporary restraining order (ECF No. 2). Plaintiff's filings address his previous confinement at the Whiteville Correctional Facility ("WCF") in Whiteville, Tennessee. After Plaintiff filed the required documentation (ECF No. 4), the Court issued an order on September 26, 2014, granting leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessing the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b) (ECF No. 5). The Clerk shall record the Defendants as Sergeant First Name Unknown ("FNU") Henely, Sergeant FNU Amus, Chief FNU Deathridge, Warden Cherry Lindamood, Principal FNU Bell and Librarian FNU Gray.
Although Plaintiff has not filed an actual complaint, he has submitted his declaration in support of the motion for a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction. (ECF No. 1-1.) In that filing, Plaintiff requests access to an adequate law library. ( Id. ¶ 1.) He states that he "is being denied access to the Courts by not being able to file motions and briefs." ( Id. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff "is working on a Ruling of a Writ Error Corrrum [sic] Nobius [sic] in the Criminal Court of Lincoln County T.N. and  will not be able to respond properly without an adequate law library [sic]." ( Id. ¶ 3.) In his legal memorandum, Plaintiff states that he "is being denied the access to adequate law library as well as being denied acess [sic] to research and prepare legal documents, such as Notice of Appeal and brief for the T.N. Criminal Court of Appeals[.]" (ECF No. 1 at 1.) Plaintiff's proposed "Order to Show Cause For A Preliminary Injunction Or A Temporary Restraining Order" indicates that he is in protective custody. (ECF No. 2 at 2.) He requests that protective custody inmates be provided access to an adequate law library and proper legal advisors. ( Id. )
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 relief can be granted." Id. (citing Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 328-29).
Whether a complaint is factually frivolous under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) is a separate issue from whether it fails to state a claim for relief. Statutes allowing a complaint to be dismissed as frivolous give judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless. Unlike a dismissal for failure to state a claim, where a judge must accept all factual allegations as true, a judge does not have to accept "fantastic or delusional" factual allegations as true in prisoner complaints that are reviewed for frivolousness.
Id. at 471 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
" Pro se complaints are to be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ' and should therefore be liberally construed." Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v. Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Pro se litigants, however, are not exempt from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 F.Appx. 608, 612, 613 (6th Cir. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro se complaint for failure to comply with "unique pleading requirements" and stating "a court cannot create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading'" (quoting Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975))); Payne v. Sec'y of Treas., 73 F.Appx. 836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua sponte dismissal of complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) and stating, "[n]either this court nor the district court is required to create Payne's claim for her"); cf. Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231 (2004) ("District judges have no obligation to act as counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants."); Young Bok Song v. Gipson, 423 F.Appx. 506, 510 (6th Cir. 2011) ("[W]e decline to affirmatively require courts to ferret out the strongest cause of action on behalf of pro se litigants. Not only would that duty be overly burdensome, it would transform the courts from neutral arbiters of disputes into advocates for a particular party. While courts are properly charged with protecting the rights of all who come before it, that responsibility does not encompass advising litigants as to what legal theories they should pursue.").
To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,  a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) a deprivation of rights secured by the "Constitution and laws" of the United States (2) committed by a defendant acting under color of state law. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 150 (1970).
Rule 3 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that "[a] civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with ...