United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Mardoche Olivier, a resident of Clarksville, Tennessee,
brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action against
the City of Clarksville and Lieutenant f/n/u Koyama, alleging
violations of the Plaintiff's civil rights. (Doc. No. 1).
The Plaintiff seeks damages, attorney fees, and injunctive
relief. (Id. at p. 3).
Required Screening of the Complaint
Plaintiff is proceeding as a pauper in this action;
therefore, the Court must conduct an initial review of the
complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and dismiss it or
any portion of it that is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim for which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. 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)”).
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.”).
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);
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”); cf. Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231
(2004) (“District judges have no obligation to act as
counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants.”); Young
Bok Song v. Gipson, 423 F.App'x 506, 510 (6th Cir.
2011) (“[W]e decline to affirmatively require courts to
ferret out the strongest cause of action on behalf of pro se
litigants. Not only would that duty be overly burdensome, it
would transform the courts from neutral arbiters of disputes
into advocates for a particular party. While courts are
properly charged with protecting the rights of all who come
before it, that responsibility does not encompass advising
litigants as to what legal theories they should
to the complaint, on an unspecified date, Lieutenant Koyama
denied the Plaintiff the opportunity to file a
“complaint” regarding what the Plaintiff believes
was his false arrest and harassment by police officers. (Doc.
No. 1 at p. 2). The complaint does not make clear what type
of complaint the Plaintiff intended to file. The complaint
alleges that Lieutenant Koyama told the Plaintiff that he
would need to wait until the Plaintiff's case was
adjudicated to file the complaint but, according to the
Plaintiff, he previously had been instructed by the Chief of
Police to file any such complaints within thirty days.
(Id.) The Plaintiff believes these actions violated
his civil rights. (Id. at p. 1.)
the Plaintiff has named the City of Clarksville as a
Defendant to this action. While the City of Clarksville is a
suable entity, it is responsible under § 1983 only for
its “own illegal acts. [It is] not vicariously liable
under § 1983 for [its] employees' actions.”
Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 131 S.Ct. 1350,
1359, 179 L.Ed.2d 417 (2011) (internal citations and
quotation marks omitted). Under § 1983, a municipality
can only be held liable if the plaintiff demonstrates that
the alleged federal violation was a direct result of the
city's official policy or custom. Burgess v.
Fisher, 735 F.3d 462, 478 (6th Cir.2013) (citing
Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
693, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978)); Regets v.
City of Plymouth, 568 Fed.Appx. 380, 2014 WL 2596562, at
*12 (6th Cir. 2014) (quoting Slusher v. Carson, 540
F.3d 449, 456-57 (6th Cir. 2008)). A plaintiff can make a
showing of an illegal policy or custom by demonstrating one
of the following: (1) the existence of an illegal official
policy or legislative enactment; (2) that an official with
final decision making authority ratified illegal actions; (3)
the existence of a policy of inadequate training or
supervision; or (4) the existence of a custom or tolerance or
acquiescence of federal rights violations. Burgess,
735 F.3d at 478.
inadequacy of police training only serves as a basis for
§ 1983 liability where the failure to train amounts to
deliberate indifference to the rights of persons with whom
the police come into contact. Slusher, 540 F.3d at
457. To establish deliberate indifference, the plaintiff may
show prior instances of unconstitutional conduct
demonstrating that the governmental entity has ignored a
history of abuse and was clearly on notice that the training
in this particular area was deficient and likely to cause
injury. Id.; see also Gregory v. City of
Louisville, 444 F.3d 725, 752-53 (6th Cir. 2006). In the
alternative, where the constitutional violation was not
alleged to be part of a pattern of past misconduct, a
supervisory official or a municipality may be held liable
only where there is essentially a complete failure to train
the police force or training that is so reckless or grossly
negligent that future police misconduct is almost inevitable
or would properly be characterized as substantially certain
to result. Hays v. Jefferson Cnty., Ky., 668 F.2d
869, 874 (6th Cir.1982).
the allegations of the complaint are insufficient to state a
claim for municipal liability against the City of Clarksville
under § 1983. The complaint does not identify or
describe any of the City's policies, procedures,
practices, or customs relating to training; it does not
identify any particular shortcomings in that training or how
those shortcomings caused the alleged violations of the
plaintiff's rights; and it does not identify any other
previous instances of similar violations that would have put
the City of Clarksville on notice of a problem. See Okolo
v. Metropolitan Gov't of Nashville, 892 F.Supp.2d
931, 944 (M.D. Tenn. 2012); Hutchison v. Metropolitan
Gov't of Nashville, 685 F.Supp.2d 747, 751 (M.D.
Tenn. 2010); Johnson v. Metropolitan Gov't of
Nashville, No. 3:10-cv-0589, 2010 WL 3619790, at **2-3
(M.D. Tenn. Sept. 13, 2010). In fact, the City of Clarksville
is not even mentioned in the narrative portion of the
complaint. Accordingly, the Court finds that the complaint
does not contain sufficient allegations to state a claim for
municipal liability against the City of Clarksville. Any such
claim will be dismissed.
the Plaintiff has sued Lieutenant Koyama for the
“deprivation of rights under color of law” and/or
for “conspiracy against rights” pursuant to 18
U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242. The Sixth Circuit has
defined a civil conspiracy under 42 U.S.C § 1983 as
A civil conspiracy is an agreement between two or more
persons to injure another by unlawful action. Express
agreement among all the conspirators is not necessary to find
the existence of a civil conspiracy. Each conspirator need
not know all of the details of the illegal plan or all of the
participants involved. All that must be shown is that there
is a single plan, that the alleged co-conspirator shared in
the general conspiratorial objective, ...