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Teasley v. MNPD

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

December 15, 2016

RON TEASLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
MNPD et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Aleta A. Trauger United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Ron Teasley, proceeding pro se, [1] has filed a civil rights complaint against defendants Metro Nashville Police Department (“MNPD”); State of Tennessee; attorneys Joy Kimbrough, Robert Vaughn, Ryan C. Caldwell and Edward Swinger; MNPD Police Officers James A. King, Joshua Lunn, Alex Moore and Gerald Hyder; Assistant District Attorney Antoinette Welch; Unknown Grand Jury Foreperson and Unknown Grand Jury Witness. (ECF No. 1.) Additionally, the plaintiff has applied to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 2)

         Because it is apparent from the plaintiff's application that he lacks sufficient resources from which to pay the required filing fee, his application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2) will be granted.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court is required to conduct an initial review of any complaint filed in forma pauperis and to dismiss the complaint if it is facially frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. Begola v. Brown, 172 F.3d 47 (Table), 1998 WL 894722, at *1 (6th Cir. Dec. 14, 1998) (citing McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007)). The Court must construe a pro se plaintiff's complaint liberally, Boag v. McDaniel, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982), and accept the plaintiff's allegations as true unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992).

         I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

         In his complaint the plaintiff alleges that attorneys Vaughn, Caldwell and Kimbrough were negligent in various respects when they represented the plaintiff in connection with his criminal case. Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that in January, 2012, attorney Vaughn advised him that the evidence against him was overwhelming and instructed him to waive his preliminary hearing, “failed to exhaust my state remedy, ” failed to investigate the plaintiff's case even though there was no “chain of custody, ” the evidence was illegally obtained, there was no warrant authorizing an undercover operation, a confidential informant was used and the forfeiture warrants were misleading. (ECF No. 1 at Page ID# 8.) With respect to attorney Caldwell, the plaintiff alleges that in July 2013, Caldwell engaged in the same conduct as Vaughn. (Id.) Additionally, Caldwell failed to move for dismissal “due to the statute of limitations had expired in this case.” (Id.) Finally, with respect to attorney Kimbrough, the plaintiff alleges that in June 2014, Kimbrough engaged in the same conduct as Vaughn and Caldwell, and she coerced and mislead the plaintiff into pleading guilty despite knowing that the evidence against him was illegal and fabricated. (Id.)

         The plaintiff alleges that Officers King, Lunn, Moore and Hyder engaged in a variety of misconduct with respect to an undercover sting operation that allegedly took place November 22 and 23, 2011 and in connection with obtaining a forfeiture warrant during that same time period. (Id. at Page ID# 9.) Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that Officers King, Lunn, Moore and Hyder abused their power as police officers on November 22 and 23, 2011, when they conducted an undercover sting operation without the proper authorization, they committed perjury when they said that the “buy money” was previously photocopied, they violated policy, procedure, rules and regulations in connection with the plaintiff's case, illegally obtained a forfeiture warrant and committed perjury when they said that $600 belonged to the plaintiff. (Id.) Additionally, they failed to do a field analysis test on the marijuana and instead sent it to a lab for testing. (Id.) Finally, they failed to ensure a proper “chain of custody” with respect to the evidence in the plaintiff's case. (Id.)

         The plaintiff alleges that in July, 2013 Assistant District Attorney Welch maliciously prosecuted him even though she knew that the evidence against him was illegally obtained, knew about Officer King's illegal activity, knew that the Officers violated policy, procedure, rules and regulations, that the statute of limitations had passed and that Officer King had committed perjury with regard to the “buy money” and the alleged listening device. (Id. at Page ID# 10.) Additionally, the plaintiff alleges that on March 8, 2013, the Unknown Grand Jury Witness offered perjured testimony before the Grand Jury of Davidson County and the Unknown Grand Jury Foreperson knowingly accepted perjured testimony and illegal evidence to obtain an indictment. (Id.)

         As relief, the plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages against each defendant.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         If an action is filed in forma pauperis, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action . . . fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the court applies the standards under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as construed by Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007). See Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding that “the dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and Twombly governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)] because the relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule 12(b)(6)”). “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.”).

         “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 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Pro se litigants, however, are not exempt from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989). The Court is not required to create a claim for the plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 F.App'x 608, 613 (6th Cir. 2011) (“[A] court cannot create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); Payne v. Sec'y 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”).

         III. DISCUSSION

         The plaintiff raises claims for attorney negligence, official misconduct, malicious prosecution and perjury. For the reasons that follow, the plaintiff fails to state any claim upon which ...


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