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Crockett v. Stults

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

February 21, 2017

ZEBULTON STULTS et al ., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Antonio M. Crocket is a state prisoner presently incarcerated at the South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton, Tennessee. Before the court is Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 2.) In addition, Plaintiff filed a form Complaint for Violations of Civil Rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants Zebulton Stults; Corey Cattrell; Sgt. Leigh Staggs; Rhonda Staggs; Warden Cherry Lindamood; Correction Corporation of American Commissioner Jason Woodall and Correction Corporation of America (“CCA”). As a supplement to the form Complaint, Plaintiff attached eight hand-written pages and numerous exhibits.

         I. Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 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 it appears from Plaintiff's submissions that he lacks sufficient financial resources from which to pay the full filing fee in advance, the application (Doc. No. 2) will be granted.

         Nevertheless, 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.

         II. Initial Review

         A. Standard of Review

         Under 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).

         In 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, 561F.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)).

         B. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff alleges that on October 23, 2016, he was being escorted from the shower facility by Defendants Stults and Cattrell. Plaintiff was restrained in handcuffs and a belly chain. According to Plaintiff, Stults and Cattrell attacked him. Plaintiff alleges that his head was slammed into the ground rendering him unconscious. When he regained consciousness, Defendants used their knees to apply all of their weight onto Plaintiff's head and lower back. Because Plaintiff's wrists were handcuffed in front of his body and the handcuffs were attached to a belly chain, Plaintiff was laying on his wrists which were cut and swollen. Since this incident, Plaintiff has had constant migraine headaches and back pain. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants suffered no consequences after they assaulted Plaintiff, and that they continue to work around Plaintiff.

         In the supplement to the form Complaint, Plaintiff reiterates the facts alleged in the form Complaint, but alleges that he filed a grievance regarding the assault. Defendant L. Staggs denied Plaintiff's grievance. Defendant Lindamood eventually received his grievance, which she also denied. Plaintiff complained to his unit manager Defendant R. Staggs who, he alleges, failed to act on his complaint. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Woodall refused to review camera footage taken while Plaintiff was attacked by Defendants Stults and Cattrell. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants L. Staggs, R. Staggs, Lindamood and Woodall failed to properly consider his grievances and complaints in an effort to cover up the assault committed by Defendants Stults and Cattrell.

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and he requests that the Court order a variety of measures to protect him, including moving him to a different prison, bring criminal charges against Defendants Stults and Cattrell and firing those Defendants who refused to rule in his favor on his grievances and Defendants Stults and Cattrell.

         C. ...

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