United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
William J. Haynes, Senior United States District Judge
Antonio Bonds, an inmate at South Central Correctional Center
("SCCC") in Clifton, Tennessee, filed this pro
se action against the Tennessee Department of
Corrections, "Corporations Corrections of America,
" Derrick Scofield,  Damon Hininger, Cherry Lindamood, Eric
Bryant, Doreen Trafton, Ronda Staggs, Brandon Bowers, Branda
Pevahouse, Robert Turman, Jessie James, Hank Irrman,
Christopher Martinez, David Moore, Robert Wesson, Sean
Brantley, John Doe, and Jane Doe for alleged violations of
the Plaintiffs civil rights. (Docket No. 1). As relief for
the alleged wrongs, the Plaintiff seeks nominal and punitive
damages. (Id. at 20).
to the complaint, Defendant Hank Inman placed the Plaintiff,
while incarcerated at SCCC, in segregation for seven days
"pending investigation for alleged security threat group
activity, " and subsequently charged the Plaintiff on
the seventh day with participating in security threat group
activity, despite Defendant Inman having knowledge of the
Plaintiffs innocence. (Docket No. 1 at 8). Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant Brenda Pevahouse failed to hold a disciplinary
hearing on the false charge instituted by Defendant Inman
(id.) and that Defendants Bowers, Brantley, Staggs,
and Trafton prevented Plaintiff from filing grievances about
his situation. (Id. at 15-16).
alleges that, due to the actions of Defendant Eric Bryant,
the Plaintiff "had to walk around with no shoes for
forty-seven hours tracking dirt, dust and urine throughout
[his] living quarters" (id. at 8); that
Defendants Lindamood, Bryant, Trafton, Staggs, Bowers,
Turman, James, Martinez, John Doe, Jane Doe, and Brantley
failed to provide the Plaintiff with clean living quarters,
access to showers, access to recreation, and access to
cleaning supplies, resulting in the Plaintiff living in
filthy, unsanitary, and unacceptable conditions of
confinement (id. at 8-9); that Defendant Bowers
threatened to withhold food from the Plaintiff if he kept
asking about how to file grievances (id. at 9); that
Defendants Trafton and Brantley interfered with the
Plaintiffs right to practice his religion by withholding his
Holy Qur'an (id.); that Defendant Trafton,
Martinez, and Brantley withheld the Plaintiff s bed linens,
shoes, shower shoes, reading materials, and legal papers from
the Plaintiff for two days (id.); that Defendants
Moore, Wesson, and Martinez did not allow Plaintiff to use
the bathroom, resulting in Plaintiff urinating in a cup and
on the floor (id.); that Defendant Trafton refused
to turn off the lights in segregation from Mary 10, 2016, to
May 17, 2016, preventing the Plaintiff from sleeping
(id.); and the Defendants denied the Plaintiff
access to his blood pressure medication for several days
(id. at 14). Plaintiff alleges:
I spent seven days without a shower and recreation, five days
I had to live, eat and sleep in close confines smelling my
own human waste. I was denied basic sanitation to alleviate
the debasing and degrading condition. I was subject to long
delays in receiving toiletries. There was no penological
purpose for me to receive such physical torture. I was placed
in a cell for five days that was fetid and reeking from the
stench of bodily waste of previous occupants which covered
the floor, sink and the urinal.
(Id. at 18).
s complaint is before the court for an initial review
pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act
("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and
1915A, and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. Under the PLRA, courts are
required to screen complaints filed by prisoners and dismiss
those complaints that are frivolous, malicious, or fail to
state claims upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C.
Sixth Circuit has confirmed that the dismissal standard
articulated by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), "governs
dismissals for failure to state a claim under those statutes
because the relevant statutoiy language tracks the language
in Rule 12(b)(6)." Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d
468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Thus, to survive scrutiny on
initial review, "a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'"
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570). "A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "[A] district court
must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual
allegations as true." Tackett v. M & G Polymers,
USA, LLC, 561F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing
Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir.
2009) (citations omitted)). 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, 95l 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).
state a claim under § 1983, the plaintiff must allege
plausible facts of a deprivation of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States by a person acting
under color of state law. Tahfs v. Proctor, 316 F.3d
584, 590 (6th Cir. 2003); 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Defendant TDOC, TDOC is not
a"person"subjecttosuitunder42U.S.C. § 1983.
The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution bars
§ 1983 claims against a state or any arm of a state
government. Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police,
491 U.S. 58, 64, 109 S.Ct. 2304, 105 L.Ed.2d 45 (1989). TDOC
is considered part of the state of Tennessee for purposes of
federal civil rights claims and is therefore not a suable
entity under § 1983, either for damages or injunctive
relief. See Hix v. Term. Dep't of Corrs., 196
F.App'x 350, 355 (6th Cir. 2006) ("TDOC is not a
'person' within the meaning of § 1983, and is
therefore not aproper defendant.") (citing
Will, 491 U.S. at 64); Pennhurst State School
& Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984)
("[I]n the absence of consent a suit in which the State
or one of its agencies or departments is named as the
defendant is proscribed by the Eleventh Amendment. This
jurisdictional bar applies regardless of the nature of the
relief sought.") (citations omitted). Because TDOC is
not a proper party in a § 1983 action, Plaintiffs claims
against TDOC should be dismissed with prejudice.
also names Corrections Corporation of America
("CCA"), the private contractor operating the
prison, as a defendant. Although a private corporation that
performs a traditional state function acts under the color of
state law for purposes of § 1983, CCA cannot be found
liable solely on the basis of respondeat superior. Thomas
v. Coble, 55 F.App'x 748, 748-49 (6th Cir. 2003).
For CCA to be liable, an inmate must prove that his injury
was caused by an action taken pursuant to some official
corporate policy or custom. Id. at 749 (citing
Monell v. Dep 't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
691 (1978)); see also Street v. Corr. Corp. of Am.,
102 F.3d 810, 817 (6th Cir.1996). Plaintiff does not assert
that the allegedly unconstitutional conditions in which he
was confined were the product of any policy or custom of CCA.
Accordingly, the Court concludes that Plaintiff has failed to
state a claim for relief against CCA, which will be dismissed
from this action.
Defendant Schofield, the Plaintiff does not allege any
specific personal involvement by Schofield in the events
described in the complaint, nor is Schofield mentioned in the
narrative section of the complaint. Plaintiff must identify
the right or privilege that Schofield violated and
Schofield's role in the alleged violation, Dunnv.
Tennessee, 697F .2d 121, 128(6thCir. 1982).
Here, Plaintiff has failed to do so. Thus, the Plaintiffs
claims against Schofield should be dismissed.
aside from listing him as a Defendant, Plaintiff does not
allege any facts against Damon Hininger. A defendant's
personal involvement in the deprivation of constitutional
rights is required to establish his or her liability under
§ 1983. Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312,
325 (1981); Miller v. Calhoun Cnty., 408 F.3d 803,
817 n. 3 (6th Cir. 2005). In the absence of any allegations
of his personal involvement in violating Plaintiffs rights,
Defendant Hininger should be dismissed.
claims against several Defendants are partially premised on
the Defendants' response, or lack of response, to the
Plaintiff s grievances and/or complaints. A plaintiff cannot
base a § 1983 claim on allegations that an
institution's grievance procedure was inadequate and/or
unresponsive because there is not an inherent constitutional
right to an effective jail grievance procedure in the first
place. See Hewitt v. Helms,459 U.S. 460, 467
(1983)(overruled in part on other grounds by Sandin v.
Conner,515 U.S. 472 (1995)); Antonelli v.
Sheahan,81 F.3d 1422, 1430 (7th Cir. 1996);
Adams v. Rice,40 F.3d 72, 75 (4th Cir.
1994); Flick v. Alba,932 F.2d 728, 729
(8thCir. 1991). Because a prisoner does not have a
constitutional right to an effective or responsive ...