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Greene v. Doe

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

March 25, 2015

BYRON GREENE, Plaintiff,
JOHN DOE #1, et al., Defendants.


TODD J. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Byron Greene, acting pro se and in forma pauperis, brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendants Prisoner Transportation Services of America, LLC, officer John Doe #1, and officer John Doe #2 violated the plaintiff's civil rights when transporting him, as a pre-trial detainee, from Fort Worth, Texas to New Albany, Mississippi. (Docket No. 1). According to the plaintiff's most recent filings, he is no longer incarcerated. (Docket No. 10).

Greene initially filed his complaint in the Northern District of Mississippi, Aberdeen Division. See Greene v. Doe #1, No. 1:15-cv-00027 (N.D. Miss. Feb. 5, 2015)(Aycock, J.). By order entered on February 18, 2015, the Honorable Sharion Aycock transferred Greene's case to this Court, finding that venue is more appropriate in this district since defendant Prisoner Transportation Services of America, LLC, is a company based in Nashville and the John Doe defendants appear to be as-yet unidentified employees of Prisoner Transportation Services, LLC. (Docket No. 6).

Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis in this case, the Court must screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

I. Screening Standard

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss any portion of a civil complaint filed in forma pauperis 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.

Although pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), the courts' "duty to be less stringent' with pro se complaints does not require us to conjure up [unpleaded] allegations." McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted).

III. Section 1983 Standard

Plaintiff Greene seeks relief pursuant to § 1983. To state a claim under § 1983, the plaintiff must allege and show: (1) that he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981)(overruled in part by Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330 (1986)); Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155-56 (1978); Black v. Barberton Citizens Hosp., 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th Cir. 1998). Both parts of this two-part test must be satisfied to support a claim under § 1983. See Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).

IV. Alleged Facts

The complaint alleges that Plaintiff was detained at the Terrant County Jail in Fort Worth, Texas, when Defendant Prisoner Transportation Service of America, LLC arrived on August 8, 2014, to transport Plaintiff to New Albany, Mississippi. Officer John Doe #1 placed a belly chain and leg irons on Plaintiff and placed him in the rear compartment of a cargo van. Plaintiff maintains that the van had a plexiglass partition that separated the drivers from the cargo area, and that the plexiglass prevented airflow into the non-air-conditioned, windowless cargo area, which was occupied by approximately seven inmates. During the time, the outside temperature was over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. According to the complaint, the temperature inside the van's cargo area was one hundred and nine degrees Fahrenheit. Plaintiff "passed out" twice in two hours due to the extreme heat, and other inmates "passed out, " too. Officer John Doe #1 stopped at a store and purchased a bag of ice. He gave the inmates "about five pieces of ice to each [inmate] in a small plastic bag" and sprayed the inmates with some kind of air freshener.

After about four hours of travel, in or near Gainesville, Texas, the van stopped to pick up another prisoner. At this stop, Plaintiff was soaked with sweat and was experiencing dizziness, black-outs, and trouble breathing, so he asked to speak to the Sheriff or someone in charge. The complaint alleges that, in response to Plaintiff's request, officer John Doe #1 said, "I had enough of this smart ass, " and three local deputies and officers John Doe #1 and #2 picked up Plaintiff by his limbs, carried him to the rear of the cargo van, and threw him head-first inside. The complaint alleges that two of Plaintiff's teeth were knocked out in the process, and that five other teeth were loosened to the point that they subsequently required removal.

The complaint further alleges that Plaintiff's pleas for medical attention were ignored and met with jokes. He stayed chained in the same manner for appropriately two days, until he was turned over to other unidentified persons in the state of Kentucky on August 10, 2014. These persons and John Doe #2 subjected Plaintiff to a strip search upon transfer. Plaintiff was then transported to New ...

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