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Breeden v. Fuson

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

June 19, 2015

NATHAN BREEDEN #19653, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF JOHN FUSON and MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

KEVIN H. SHARP, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff Nathan Breeden, an inmate at the Montgomery County Jail in Clarksville, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Sheriff John Fuson and the Montgomery County Jail, alleging that the conditions of his confinement violate the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. (Docket No. 1).

The plaintiff's complaint is before the Court for an initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a).

I. PLRA 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. Section 1915A similarly requires initial review of any "complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity, " id. § 1915A(a), and summary dismissal of the complaint on the same grounds as those articulated in § 1915(e)(2)(B). Id. § 1915A(b).

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 Breeden 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 the conditions of confinement at the Montgomery County Jail are unconstitutional. The plaintiff's specific allegations include, and are not limited to, there is mold growing in the sinks and in the showers; there are spiders infesting the cells; the ventilation system is clogged; some cells lack sprinkler heads; there are no emergency call buttons to alert jail guards of an emergency; the guards watch inmates shower; the inmates do not get enough time in the dark for sleeping; the inmates are not provided with water or access to restrooms during recreation time; and that the unsanitary conditions of the jail caused the plaintiff to develop hepatitis B, and he had to be hospitalized for treatment. (Docket No. 1 at pp. 5, 7). The complaint also alleges that the Montgomery County Jail does not provide programs for Tennessee Department of Corrections inmates. ( Id. at p. 7).

V. Analysis

A. Claims against the Montgomery County Jail

As to the plaintiff's claims against the Montgomery County Jail, a jail or workhouse is not a "person" that can be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Cf. Fuller v. Cocran, No. 1:05-CV-76, 2005 WL 1802415, at *3 (E.D. Tenn. July 27, 2005) (dismissing § 1983 claims against the Bradley County Justice Center on the same basis); Seals v. Grainger County Jail, No. 3:04CV606, 2005 WL 1076326, at *1 (E.D. Tenn. May 6, 2005) ("The Grainger County Jail, however, is not a suable entity within the meaning of § 1983."). Thus, the complaint fails to state a ...


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