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Hull v. Davidson County Sheriff's Office

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

April 3, 2017

CLARENCE R. HULL, JR. No. 187983, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff, an inmate of the Hardeman County Correctional Facility in Whiteville, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Davidson County Sheriff's Office and “A.B.L. Kitchen Staff, ” alleging violations of the Plaintiff's federal civil rights. (Doc. No. 1). As relief, the Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages and damages for his pain and suffering. (Id. at p. 6).

         The complaint is before the Court for an initial review pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.

         I. PLRA Screening Standard

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the court must dismiss any portion of a civil complaint filed in forma pauperis that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, is frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Section 1915A similarly requires initial review of any “complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity, ” id. § 1915A(a), and summary dismissal of the complaint on the same grounds as those articulated in § 1915(e)(2)(B). Id. § 1915A(b).

         The Sixth Circuit has confirmed that the dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), “governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under those statutes 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). Thus, to survive scrutiny on initial review, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[A] district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.” Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)).

         Although pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), the courts' “duty to be ‘less stringent' with pro se complaints does not require us to conjure up [unpleaded] allegations.” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted).

         II. Section 1983 Standard

         Plaintiff brings his federal claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 creates a cause of action against any person who, acting under color of state law, abridges “rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws . . . .” To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege and show two elements: (1) that he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. Tahfs v. Proctor, 316 F.3d 584, 590 (6th Cir. 2003); 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         III. Alleged Facts

         The complaint alleges that, while the Plaintiff was an inmate of the Davidson County Sheriff's Office in Nashville, Tennessee, he worked in the Criminal Justice Center kitchen where he was required to wear boots for safety reasons. On December 17, 2015, [1] an unnamed corrections officer told the Plaintiff that he had to report to work duty in the kitchen. The Plaintiff told the corrections officer that he did not have the required work boots to wear for kitchen duty. The unidentified corrections officer told the Plaintiff that “if [he] didn't go [to work] he would write [the Plaintiff] up for refusal to work then [the Plaintiff] would be moved to another pod.” (Doc. No. 1 at p. 5).

         The Plaintiff complied and reported for kitchen duty while wearing Crocs. Upon reporting for duty, A.B.L. manager Randy l/n/u told the Plaintiff that he was short-staffed and needed the Plaintiff to work and “they would take care of [his shoe issue].” (Id. at p. 7). Randy l/n/u directed the Plaintiff to bag cookies for lunch, which the Plaintiff did.

         Later that day, Randy l/n/u directed the Plaintiff to help the cooks because they were running behind. The Plaintiff protested, stating again that he did not have appropriate footwear. Randy l/n/u told the Plaintiff that he would be “written up for ‘Refusing a direct order'” if he did not do as directed. (Id. at pp. 7-8). The Plaintiff complied and assisted Randy and another cook with a hot pan. The contents of the pan spilled, and scalding green bean juice fell onto the Plaintiff's left foot, which was largely exposed due to the holes in his Crocs. Randy l/n/u then directed the Plaintiff to see a nurse, but A.B.L. employee Ms. f/n/u Dickson told the Plaintiff “to put some butter on it” and go back to work. (Id. at p. 9). Confusion and disagreement ensued over when and who should complete an incident report form. However, after observing the Plaintiff's injuries, A.B.L. employee Jasmine l/n/u then escorted the Plaintiff to an office with a medical room attached to it, called for a nurse, and nurse f/n/u Roundtree gave the Plaintiff Tramadol (medication), placed an ice pack on the Plaintiff's foot, rubbed Silvadine on the Plaintiff's foot, and bandaged it.

         The following day, the Plaintiff was brought by a corrections officer to see a different nurse, who, after examining the Plaintiff's foot, told him that he had third-degree burns and needed additional treatment. She called Dr. f/n/u Simmons into work early and Dr. Simmons examined the ...

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