United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
RAY A. FOSTER, Plaintiff,
BILL ROBINSON, BRIAN FREEMAN, CLAY MOORE, ASHLY OWNBY, and BILL CHERRY, Defendants.
A. Varlan, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court is in receipt of a pro se prisoner's complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. 2] and a motion for leave
to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1]. It appears
from the motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis that Plaintiff lacks sufficient financial
resources to pay the filing fee. Accordingly, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915, Plaintiff's motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1] will be GRANTED.
For the reasons set forth below, however, no process shall
issue and this action will be DISMISSED for failure to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted under § 1983.
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”),
district courts must screen prisoner complaints and shall, at
any time, sua sponte dismiss any claims that are
frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, or
are against a defendant who is immune. See, e.g., 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A; Benson v.
O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014 (6th Cir. 1999). The
dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and in
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554 (2007),
“governs dismissals for failure state a claim under [28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A] because the
relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule
12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468,
470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Thus, to survive an initial review
under the PLRA, 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). Courts liberally construe pro se pleadings
filed in civil rights cases and hold them to a less stringent
standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must establish that he was deprived of a federal
right by a person acting under color of state law. Black
v. Barberton Citizens Hosp., 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th
Cir. 1998); O'Brien v. City of Grand Rapids, 23
F.3d 990, 995 (6th Cir. 1994); Russo v. City of
Cincinnati, 953 F.2d 1036, 1042 (6th Cir. 1992); see
also Braley v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th
Cir. 1990) (stating that “Section 1983 does not itself
create any constitutional rights; it creates a right of
action for the vindication of constitutional guarantees found
Allegations of the Complaint 
31, 2014, Plaintiff was standing at the front of his garage
smoking methamphetamine with several other individuals when
he saw a dark sport utility vehicle pull up with a passenger
who had “D.T.F.” (presumably Drug Task Force)
across his chest [Doc. 2 p. 3]. Plaintiff started to run, but
decided not to because his daughter was inside asleep
[Id.]. Defendant Freeman then approached Plaintiff
and told him that he had heard complaints about Plaintiff
selling drugs in the neighborhood. [Id. at 3, 15].
At that point, Defendants Robinson, Freeman, Cherry, and
Moore led Plaintiff to believe that because Plaintiff was on
parole, he had to sign a document that was a warrant allowing
them to search his property [Id. at 3-4, 15-16].
this search, Defendants disrupted Plaintiff's property
and carried on various conversations with Plaintiff about his
property and drugs, specifically who was bringing in drugs,
who was selling drugs to whom, and whether Plaintiff could
help bring others “down” [Id. at 19-20].
Plaintiff was sure that he was going to jail for the drugs in
his pipe, but Defendants told him that they found drugs in a
camper on Plaintiff's property, took some of
Plaintiff's money and property, and then left
[Id. at 19-23]. Plaintiff was arrested for charges
stemming from the July 31, 2015, search on September 9, 2015
[Id. at 26].
about March 2016, Amanda, a woman Plaintiff was formerly
involved with who lived with him and who was present during
the July 31, 2014, search of his property, told Plaintiff
that during the search of the house and property, she saw
Defendant Moore reach into an outside compartment of his
camper, where police alleged they had found drugs, and say
“this is only one, where[']s the other one, ”
at which point Defendant Cherry said “shhh” and
motioned toward Amanda [Id. at 37-38].
also makes various allegations about alleged negligence/legal
malpractice on the part of Defendant Ownby, his attorney in
the underlying criminal case against him [Id. at
Statute of Limitations
Congress did not provide a statute of limitations for claims
arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Accordingly, district
courts apply state statutes of limitations to those claims.
Harris v. United States, 422 F.3d 322, 331 (6th Cir.
2005). In Tennessee, a one-year statute of limitations is
applicable to § 1983 actions. Tenn. Code Ann. §
28-3-104(a)(3); Zundel v. Holder, 687 F.3d 271, 281
(6th Cir. 2012).
law, however, determines “[t]he date on which the
statute of limitations begins to run in a § 1983
action.” Eidson v. State of Tenn. Dept. of
Children's Servs., 510 F.3d 631, 634- 35 (6th Cir.
2007) (citing Kuhnle Bros., Inc. v. Cnty. of Geauga,
103 F.3d 516, 520 (6th Cir. 1997)). The Sixth Circuit has
held that a cause of action accrues and the statute of
limitations begins to run when an event occurs that