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Tebbetts v. Madison County Jail

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

July 14, 2015

MADISON COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.


EDWARD G. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.

On March 16, 2015, Plaintiff Robert Tebbetts, a resident of Medon, Tennessee filed a pro se civil complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Madison County Jail, the Madison County Sherriff's Department, Jackson City Police, Jeremy Glenn Hayes, Kenneth Lamar Hicks, and Sam Dawson. On April 22, 2015, the Plaintiff submitted a properly completed in forma pauperis affidavit. In an order issued on April 23, 2015, the Court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis .

This case has been referred to the United States Magistrate Judge for management and for all pretrial matters for determination and/or report and recommendation as appropriate. (Admin. Order 2013-05, April 29, 2013.)


The Complaint alleges that Defendant Kenneth Lamar Hicks was the owner of a lease held by Plaintiff. (Compl., D.E. 1). Plaintiff contends that Mr. Hicks recruited Defendant Jeremy Glenn Hayes to "annoy" him, alleging Mr. Hayes assaulted Plaintiff on multiple occasions. Id. Plaintiff stated in the Complaint that he sought assistance from the Madison County Sherriff's Department and the Jackson City Police. Id. On March 17, 2014, Plaintiff states that he went to City Hall to seek assistance and was arrested. Id. According to the Complaint, Plaintiff asserts that he was held in jail for seven (7) days; and on March 24, 2014, Mr. Hayes and seven (7) other individuals filed domestic aggregated assault with deadly force charges against Plaintiff. Id. The Complaint also maintains that Mr. Hayes testified at an unspecified hearing and committed perjury during said testimony. Id. An Attachment to the Complaint indicates that on March 17, 2014, Plaintiff was arrested and held for aggravated assault and failure to appear. Booking Rep., ECF No. 1, 6.

Plaintiff contends that while he was incarcerated, "Officer Ifantis" (sic) of Madison County Sheriff's Office used a Taser and mace several times while Plaintiff was in handcuffs. Id. Plaintiff alleges that the actions of the deputy resulted in a five day hospitalization due to a broken nose. Id. According to the incident report, Deputies Ifantis, Wester, and Mayo were called to Plaintiff's cell on June 27, 2014, because Plaintiff refused to enter his cell for lock down. (Incident Rep., D.E. 1-14) The report alleges that Plaintiff had a cup of an unknown liquid that Plaintiff threw towards the deputies, at which point Deputy Wester used his Taser to subdue Plaintiff. Id. During the period Plaintiff was hospitalized, he complains that he not allowed visitors, mail, or telephone privileges. (Compl., D.E. 1). Plaintiff states that since his release from jail on July 29, 2014, he has been homeless. Id.

Plaintiff asserts that he should be paid compensation for his incarceration, based on the allegation that he was held without cause. Id. Plaintiff also requests restitution for the loss of his home and its contents during his time in jail. Id. The Plaintiff further requests that if he is ever arrested in the Twenty-Sixth District, he would like to detained in different area in order to avoid "the beatings and tazing and macing while incarcerated." Id.


The Court is required to screen in forma pauperis complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or portion thereof, if the action (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915 (e) (2). When determining whether the complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, the standards under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 (b) (6) are applied. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 667-79, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949-50, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-66, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007); 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, 129 S.Ct. at 1951) (alternation in original). "[P]leadings that.... are no more than conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of the complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681, 129 S.Ct. at 1950; see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65 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 ground' on which the claim rests.")

"A complaint can be frivolous either factually or legally. See Neitzke v. [Williams], 490 U.S. [319, ] 325, 109 S.Ct. at 1827 [(1989)]. Any complaint that is found to be legally frivolous would ipso facto fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See id. at 328-29, 109 S.Ct. 1827." Hill, 630 F.3d at 470.

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." Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327, 109 S.Ct. 1827 (interpreting 28 U.S.C. § 1915). Unlike a dismissal for failure to state a claim, where a judge must accept all factual allegations as true, Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50, a judge does not have to accept "fantastic or delusional" factual allegations as true in prisoner complaints that are reviewed for frivolousness. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28, 109 S.Ct. 1827. Id. at 471.

" 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)). However, pro se litigants are not exempt from complying with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989), reh'g denied (Jan. 19, 1990); see also Song v. Gipson, No. 09-5480, 2011 WL 1827441, at *4 (6th Cir. May 12, 2011); Brown v. Matauszak, No. 09-2259, 2011 WL 285251, at *5 (6th Cir. Jan. 21, 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)) (alteration in original); Payne v. Secretary of Treas., 73 F. app'x 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, 124 S.Ct. 2441, 2446, 159 L.Ed.2d 338 (2004) ("District judges have no obligation to act as counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants.").

In this case, Plaintiff asserts that the Defendants violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under 42 U.S.C., § 1983. In order "[t]o state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color of the state law." Leach v. Shelby County Sheriff, 891 F.2d 1241, ...

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