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Baker v. Wood

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

July 31, 2015

MICHAEL BAKER, Plaintiff,
v.
RICKY L. WOOD, Defendant.

ORDER DISMISSING CLAIMS, CERTIFYING APPEAL NOT TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF APPELLATE FILING FEE

JAMES D. TODD, District Judge.

On September 22, 2014, Plaintiff Michael Baker ("Baker"), who is confined in the Decatur County Detention Center ("DCDC") in Decaturville, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) In an order issued October 2, 2014, United States District Judge William J. Haynes, Jr. granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b), and transferred the case to this district (ECF No. 3), where it was docketed on October 3, 2014 (ECF No. 5). The Clerk shall record the Defendant as Ricky L. Wood, the Decatur County General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge.[1]

I. THE COMPLAINT

In his complaint, Baker alleges that the Department of Children's Services ("DCS") came into his home, forced him to submit to a drug screen and took his children into custody illegally. (ECF No. 1 at 5.) Baker alleges the DCS investigator took her life the day he pled in court. He states that "she had perjury charges and [his] case was one and [he] wasn't told til after court." ( Id. ) Baker further alleges that "when [his] lawyer told the judge that his client's [sic] had civil right's [sic], he said he didn't care about our civil right's [sic]." ( Id. ) Baker is requesting monetary damages and to have the unspecified charges dismissed and expunged. ( Id. )

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 standards under Federal Rule 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 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 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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