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Forrester v. Taylor

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

July 29, 2015

CHRISTOPHER S. FORRESTER, Plaintiff,
v.
LT. EARL TAYLOR, Defendant.

ORDER TO ISSUE AND SERVE PROCESS ON DEFENDANT TAYLOR

JAMES D. TODD, District Judge.

On December 8, 2014, Plaintiff Christopher S. Forrester ("Forrester"), an inmate at the Whiteville Correctional Facility in Whiteville Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis . (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) In an order issued December 9, 2014, the Court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 4.) The Clerk shall record the Defendant as Lieutenant (Lt.) Earl Taylor.

I. THE COMPLAINT

In the complaint, Forrester alleges that on November 5, 2014, Lt. Taylor repeatedly slammed the metal slider of the tray slot or "pie flap" onto Forrester's arm. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 4.) In the grievance attached to his complaint, he elaborates that Lt. Taylor had directed Sergeant (Sgt.) Amos, who is not a party in this action, to cuff Forrester and Forrester's cellmate. (ECF No. 1-1 at PageID 9.) They were taken to the shower while their cell was searched. ( Id .) When Forrester was returned to his cell, he noticed that a few things were missing that he was6> permitted to have, and he stuck his arm through the pie flap and asked to speak to Captain Harris, the shift supervisor, who is not a party to this action. ( Id .) Lt. Taylor then allegedly told Forrester to move his arm. ( Id .) When Forrester refused, Lt. Taylor allegedly slammed the metal slider of the pie flap against Forrester's arm six or seven times, cutting "a big hunk of meat" out of his arm ( id. ) and causing it to drip blood (ECF No. 1 at PageID 4). Forrester alleges Lt. Taylor called him names and walked away. (ECF No. 1-1 at PageID 9.) Sgt. Amos called medical to see to Forrester's arm. ( Id .)

Forrester requests $3, 500, 000 in monetary damages and immediate release from prison. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 5.)

II. ANALYSIS

A. Screening and Standard

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 court applies the standards under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 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). 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) (alteration in5> 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 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. Any complaint that is legally frivolous would ipso facto fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Hill, 630 F.3d at 470 (citing Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 328-29 (1989)).

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 ...

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