United States District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division
Aleta A. Trauger, United States District Judge
Plaintiff Mitchell Stone, a state prisoner incarcerated at Charles Bass Correctional Complex in Nashville, Tennessee, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of Tennessee. The complaint (ECF No. 1) is before the court for an initial review pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. For the reasons set forth herein, the complaint will be dismissed.
I. Standard of Review
Under the PLRA, the court must conduct an initial review of any civil complaint brought by a prisoner if it is filed in forma pauperis, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), seeks relief from government entities or officials, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, or challenges the prisoner’s conditions of confinement, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). Upon conducting this review, the Court must dismiss the complaint, or any portion thereof, that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, is frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Sixth Circuit has confirmed that the dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), “governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under [the PLRA] because the relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule 12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470–71 (6th Cir. 2010). Thus, to survive scrutiny on initial review, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). In conducting the initial review, the Court must read the plaintiff’s pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept the plaintiff’s allegations as true unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992).
II. Factual Allegations
In his complaint, the plaintiff states that he has not filed any grievances related to the events alleged in his complaint because he “did not know [he had] to go through the grievance procedure.” (Complaint, ECF No. 1, at 2.)
He alleges that he is incarcerated at the Charles Bass Correctional Complex and that “they” will not send him to the hospital despite life-threatening heart problems. (Id. at 3–4.) He further alleges that “they” broke his left wrist, causing extreme pain, but refuse to send him for an x-ray or to provide treatment for his broken wrist. (Id. at 4.)
The court presumes that “they” are prison officials, but the plaintiff does not identify who “they” are or provide the names of any individuals who were personally involved in the events about which he complains. The plaintiff names only the State of Tennessee as a defendant.
The plaintiff does not specify the relief sought, whether injunctive relief or monetary damages or both.
A. Legal Standards
The plaintiff seeks to bring suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to vindicate alleged violations of his federal constitutional rights. Section 1983 confers a private federal right of action against any person who, acting under color of state law, deprives an individual of any right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution or federal laws. Wurzelbacher v. Jones-Kelley, 675 F.3d 580, 583 (6th Cir. 2012). Thus, to state a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) a deprivation of rights secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and (2) that “the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law.” Tahfs v. Proctor, 316 F.3d 584, 590 (6th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted); 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
In addition, however, under the PLRA, specifically 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under § 1983 . . . by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” Exhaustion under the PLRA is mandatory and unexhausted claims cannot be brought in federal court. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 211 (2007); Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 85 (2006). Furthermore, “exhaustion” under the PLRA means “proper exhaustion.” Woodford, 548 U.S. at 92. In Woodford, the Supreme ...