United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. TRAUGER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court is in receipt of a pro se prisoner complaint
(Docket Entry No. 1) brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and an application to proceed in forma pauperis (Docket
Entry No. 2).
is an inmate at the Montgomery County Jail in Clarksville,
Tennessee. It appears from his application that he lacks
sufficient financial resources from which to pay the fee
required to file the complaint. Accordingly, plaintiff's
application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a).
plaintiff is herewith ASSESSED the civil filing fee of
$350.00. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)(A) and (B),
the custodian of the plaintiff's inmate trust account at
the institution where he now resides is directed to submit to
the Clerk of Court, as an initial partial payment, whichever
is greater of:
(a) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly deposits to
the plaintiff's inmate trust account; or
(b) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly balance in
the plaintiff's inmate trust account for the prior six
the custodian shall submit twenty percent (20%) of the
plaintiff's preceding monthly income (or income credited
to the plaintiff's trust account for the preceding
month), but only when such monthly income exceeds ten dollars
($10.00), until the full filing fee of three hundred fifty
dollars ($350.00) as authorized under 28 U.S.C. §
1914(a) has been paid to the Clerk of Court. 28 U.S.C. §
plaintiff brings this action against the Montgomery County
Jail; ABL, the entity under contract to provide food services
at the Jail; and Cpl. Corder, an officer at the Jail; seeking
injunctive relief and damages.
plaintiff alleges that he has adopted religious beliefs that
require him to observe certain dietary restrictions. He
claims that the defendants have interfered with his ability
to observe those restrictions in violation of his First
Supreme Court has recognized that prisoners do not forfeit
all constitutional rights by virtue of their conviction and
confinement in prison. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S.
520, 545 (1979). Prisoners retain those fundamental freedoms
that are not inconsistent with their incarceration. Wolff
v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 555 (1974). These include
the right of a prisoner to freely exercise his religious
beliefs. Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972).
right of free exercise, however, is not absolute for
prisoners. Jihaad v. O'Brien, 645 F.2d 556, 564
(6th Cir. 1981). Prisoners are entitled to
exercise their religious beliefs subject to reasonable
limitations. Pell v. Procunier, 417 U.S. 817, 822
(1974); Abdur-Rahman v. Michigan Dept. Of
Corrections, 65 F.3d 489 (6th Cir. 1995).
regard, the plaintiff has informed jail officials of his need
for a diet consistent with his religious beliefs. The
complaint describes two occasions, though, when Cpl. Corder
prevented him from receiving his religious tray for no
apparent reason. The complaint also sets forth another
incident wherein Cpl. Corder denied a second inmate his
religious tray. From this, it can be inferred that Cpl.
Corder has made it a practice to interfere with the religious
dietary restrictions of inmates in her care. The complaint,
therefore, states a colorable First Amendment claim for
relief against Cpl. Corder.
Court notes, however, that the plaintiff has named the
Montgomery County Jail as a defendant. A county jail or
workhouse is not a person that can be sued under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Grimmett v. Wilson County Jail, 2015 WL
787228 (M.D. Tenn.); Staggs v. Lewis County Jail,
2009 WL 3877682 (M.D. Tenn.). Therefore, the claims against
this defendant are hereby DISMISSED.
plaintiff has also named ABL as a defendant. The
plaintiff's claim against ABL is that, “Since / /,
they have refused to come up with a diet plan.” His
reference to “they” suggests that the plaintiff
is asserting a claim against ...