United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Winchester
JOHNNY W. GREEN, TDOC#278177, Plaintiff,
BRENT MYERS, Sheriff, GENA MYERS, et. al, Defendants.
S. MATTICE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
pro se, state prisoner Johnny W. Green brings this civil
rights complaint for monetary relief under 42 U.S.C.
§1983 against Brent Myers, the Sheriff of Grundy County,
Tennessee, and Gena Myers, a correctional officer at the
Grundy County jail [Doc. 1]. Because this case was
transferred to this Court by the Middle District after the
filing fee was assessed [Doc. 4], the Court turns first to
the contentions in Plaintiff's complaint.
maintains that Defendants subjected him to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement at the Grundy County jail, where he
was housed for four months, from August 17th to December 11th
[Doc.1 p.5]. More specifically, Plaintiff asserts that,
when he arrived at the jail, he was forced to sleep in an
8' by 10' cell, underneath a bunk, without a mat or
blanket. Plaintiff further asserts that the jail was designed
to accommodate twenty inmates, but that it housed double that
number. In the same vein, Plaintiff contends that he was
assigned housing in a two-man cell, that housed three
inmates, two of whom were infected with Hepatitis C virus.
also maintains that he was not provided soap, shampoo, or
general hygiene products and that, when he asked for this
items, he was told that “they didn't no (sic) what
to tell [him], ” explaining that his reference to
“they” means Sheriff Brent Myers, Gena Myers, and
Administrator Steve Melton. Furthermore, according to
Plaintiff, Gena Myers signed for a priority mail package his
mother sent him, but he never received the package. When
Plaintiff complained about the missing package, the Sheriff
told him that the package had been misplaced and that
“there wasn't anything that anybody wanted in
it” [Id.]. Plaintiff's request for access
to a law library likewise was unavailing because Defendant
Sheriff's response to that request was that “he
didn't know what to tell [him]”[Id.].
asserts that Defendants showed “blatant
disregard” for prisoner mail and “no
regard” for his health and that, as a result of
sleeping on the floor, he suffers from back and shoulder pain
[Id.]. Plaintiff seeks $400, 000 in damages for his
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 are to 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). Formulaic
and conclusory recitations of the elements of a claim which
are not supported by specific facts are insufficient to state
a plausible claim for relief. Id. at 681.
Furthermore, conclusory allegations need not be accepted as
true. Newberry v. Silverman, 789 F.3d 636, 640 (6th
Cir. 2015). 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 she was deprived of a federal right by a
person acting under color of state law. See Black v.
Barberton Citizens Hospital, 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th
Cir. 1998); O'Brien v. City of Grand Rapids, 23
F.3d 990, 995 (6th Cir. 1994); 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
Court examines the claims under these guidelines.
LAW and ANALYSIS
Plaintiff has sued Defendants in their official capacities,
not in their personal capacities [Doc. 1 at 4]. This
distinction is important because a suit against a defendant
in his official capacity proceeds as though a plaintiff has
sued the governmental entity the defendant represents.
See Alkire v. Irving, 330 F.3d 802, 810 (6th Cir.
2003). The governmental entity Defendants represent is Grundy
County, Tennessee. A governmental entity, like Grundy County,
can only be liable where a plaintiff shows that its policy,
practice, or custom has caused him to sustain a
constitutional injury. Monell v. New York City Dep't
of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978).
simply, to state a section 1983 claim against Grundy County,
Plaintiff must: 1) identify the policy, 2) connect the policy
to Grundy County itself, and 3) demonstrate that the injury
was incurred because of the execution of that policy.