Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hill v. Matheny

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee

February 22, 2017




         Acting 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.


         Plaintiff 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].

         Plaintiff 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” [Id.]


         The 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).

         Still, 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).

         In 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 found elsewhere.”).

         The Court examines the claims under these guidelines.

         III. 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).

         Additionally, 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 jail.

         Complaints 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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.