United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
S. MATTICE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
pro se, Cameron Devon Hill, a prisoner confined in the Warren
County jail in McMinnville, Tennessee, brings this civil
rights action for injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, asserting that he is being subjected to
unconstitutional treatment and housing conditions [Doc. 1].
Because the Middle District, where this action was filed,
assessed the filing fee before transferring the case to this
Court based on venue considerations [Doc. 6], the Court turns
first to the contentions contained in the complaint.
maintains that he was sentenced to twelve (12) years'
imprisonment on July 10, 2013, as a Range 1 offender, that he
has asked Defendants Jackie Matheny and Teresa King for a
transfer to a state-funded facility, and that he has received
no response to his requests [Id. p.3]. Plaintiff
complains that since his conviction and confinement in the
Warren County jail, his civil rights have been violated and
that, given Defendants' failure to respond to his request
for a transfer, he has elected to sue them for his wrongful
confinement conditions [Id. at 5].
then lists the untoward conditions to which inmates in his
cell are exposed in Warren County jail, among which are
leaking toilets, inadequate heating and ventilation systems,
absence of privacy in the use of toilet facilities, a shower
which contains no non-skid surfaces, no windows, no clock,
exposed insulation and wiring from broken lights,
overcrowding in the cell, loose tiles hanging down from the
ceiling, no medical staff for emergencies, non-functioning
smoke alarms, no drug rehabilitation treatment, and
punishment for all inmates for the misdeeds of a few
[Id.]. Once, when Plaintiff was experiencing a
medical emergency, he was required to go to a hospital
outside the county and did not receive any follow up care,
and once, during a lock-down period, he was denied “an
indigent packet” to enable him to shower and brush his
teeth [Id.]. Plaintiff also complains that he does
not receive sufficient dietary nutrition, adequate periods of
recreation, no outdoor recreation, and access to the law
library. The only relief Plaintiff requests is that he
“be moved to White County or a state facility”
SCREENING and LEGAL STANDARDS
Court must now review the complaint to determine whether it
states a claim entitling Plaintiff to relief or is frivolous
or malicious or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and
§ 1915A. If so, this suit must be dismissed. In
performing this task, the Court bears in mind the rule that
pro se pleadings filed in civil rights cases must be
liberally construed and held to a less stringent standard
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
the complaint must be sufficient “to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face, ” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007),
which simply means that the factual content pled by a
plaintiff must permit a court “to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The
standard articulated in Twombly and Iqbal
“governs dismissals for failure state a claim under
[§§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)] 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).
order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff
must establish that he was deprived of a federal right by a
person acting under color of state law. Black v.
Barberton Citizens Hospital, 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th
Cir. 1998). See also Braley v. City of Pontiac, 906
F.2d 220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990) (“Section 1983 does not
itself create any constitutional rights; it creates a right
of action for the vindication of constitutional guarantees
Court examines the claims under these guidelines.
LAW and ANALYSIS
Plaintiff's contentions about the majority of the
complained of conditions appear to affect inmates in
Plaintiff's cell equally. If so, then these contentions
implicate the standing doctrine, which derives from Article
III's restriction of federal court jurisdiction to
“cases and controversies.” U.S. CONST. art. III,
§ 2, cl.1. It has been held that a plaintiff must assert
his own rights and that he cannot base his claims for relief
on the legal rights or interests of a third party. Warth
v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499 (1975).
a plaintiff establishes standing, if he demonstrates three
things: (1) an injury in fact or a harm that is “actual
or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical, ” (2)
causation, and (3) redressability. Whitmore v.
Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 155 (1990) (citations omitted).
Plaintiff has alleged no personal injury with respect to
those particular conditions and, accordingly, he lacks
standing to assert violations of the rights of other inmates,
even if those inmates are his cell mates. And clearly,
Plaintiff's only requested form of relief, i.e., a
transfer to another correctional facility, could not redress
the complained of housing conditions in the Warren County
about jail conditions which cause a personal injury to a
prisoner fall within the scope of the “Cruel and
Unusual Punishments” provision of the Eighth Amendment,
which prohibits conditions that involve the wanton and
unnecessary infliction of pain and result in the serious
deprivation of basic human needs. Rhodes v. Chapman,
452 U.S. 337, 346-47 (1981). An Eighth ...