United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
George Matthews is a state prisoner incarcerated at the
Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (“TTCC”) in
Hartsville, Tennessee, although the events about which he
complains took place while he was incarcerated at the Bledsoe
County Correctional Complex (“BCCX”). Before the
court is Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma
pauperis. (Doc. No. 3.) In addition, Plaintiff has filed
a complaint for civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and for violation of various state laws against
Defendants Dr. [F/N/U] Terpta, a physician; Dr. [F/N/U]
Daniels, a dentist; Health Administrator John Doe and Nurse
Jane Doe, which 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.
Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), a prisoner bringing a civil action
may be permitted to file suit without prepaying the filing
fee of $350 required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). Because
Plaintiff properly submitted an in forma pauperis
affidavit, and because it appears from his submissions that
he lacks sufficient financial resources from which to pay the
full filing fee in advance, the application (Doc. No. 3) will
under § 1915(b), Plaintiff remains responsible for
paying the full filing fee. The obligation to pay the fee
accrues at the time the case is filed, but the PLRA provides
prisoner-plaintiffs' the opportunity to make a
“down payment” of a partial filing fee and to pay
the remainder in installments. Accordingly, Plaintiff will be
assessed the full $350 filing fee, to be paid as directed in
the order accompanying this memorandum opinion.
Standard of Review
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the federal
Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988);
Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549
(6th Cir. 2009). Both parts of this two-part test must be
satisfied to support a claim under § 1983. See
Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 1991).
the PLRA, the Court must conduct an initial review of any
civil complaint brought by a prisoner if it is filed in
forma pauperis, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), seeks
relief from government entities or officials, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, or challenges the prisoner's conditions of
confinement, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). Upon conducting this
review, the Court must dismiss the complaint, or any portion
thereof, that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, is frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c).
The 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 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 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).
reviewing the complaint to determine whether it states a
plausible claim, “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, 561 F.3d
478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v.
Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations
omitted)). A pro se pleading must be liberally
construed and “held to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). “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”). To demand otherwise would require the
“courts to explore exhaustively all potential claims of
a pro se plaintiff, [and] would also transform the
district court from its legitimate advisory role to the
improper role of an advocate seeking out the strongest
arguments and most successful strategies for a party.”
Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278
(4th Cir. 1985).
alleges that on August 26, 2015 at approximately 6:20 p.m.,
he was playing basketball and accidentally got hit in the
face by another player's elbow. Later that same day, his
face began to swell, so he applied ice. By the 12:30 am on
the 27th, Plaintiff began bleeding profusely out of the left
side of his nose. Plaintiff saw the nurse,  who gave him two
Tylenol and sent him back to his housing unit.
following morning, after reporting for work in the kitchen,
Plaintiff went to see Dr. Terpta. Dr. Terpta took x-rays and
told plaintiff there were no broken bones. He advised
plaintiff to stay off the basketball court, gave him four
Tylenol and sent him back to work. Plaintiff alleges that he
was in severe pain and that his nose would frequently bleed
profusely. For the next three days plaintiff went to sick
August 30, 2015, Plaintiff saw a different doctor who took
another set of x-rays and, after examining the x-rays,
ordered that Plaintiff be taken to the hospital as soon as
September 1, 2015, Plaintiff was transported to Nashville
General Hospital. When he arrived there no one knew anything
about why Plaintiff had been transported to the hospital. The
transportation officer called BCCX and, thereafter, Plaintiff
was taken to oral surgery where he was treated by Dr.
Daniels, who pulled two of his teeth from the left side of
his mouth. After surgery, Plaintiff was transported to the
special needs facility with no pain medication. The next
morning he was transported back to BCCX. From September 1,
2015, the date of his surgery, to September 3, 2015, the
Plaintiff was not given any pain medication.
the tooth extraction surgery, Plaintiff continued to have
pain and bleeding from his nose. Plaintiff submitted more
sick call requests and sought pain medication. ...