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Scott v. Lindamood

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

April 6, 2017

MITCHELL SCOTT, No. 394044, Plaintiff,



         Mitchell Scott, an inmate of the South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden Cherry Lindamood, Unit Manager f/n/u Staggs, and Sergeant f/n/u Trefton, alleging violations of the Plaintiffs civil rights. (Doc. No. 1). As relief, the Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief. (Id. at p. 2).

         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 1915 A 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, " iji § 1915 A(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); Jourdanv. 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. Motion to Amend

         After filing his complaint, the Plaintiff filed a motion to amend his complaint "to add proper defendants." (Doc. No. 3). "The court should freely give leave [to amend] when justice so requires." Rule 15(a), Fed. R. Civ. P.; Rose v. Hartford Underwriters Ins. Co.. 203 F.3d 417, 420 (6th Cir. 2000). A motion to amend should not be denied unless there is evidence of undue delay, bad faith, undue prejudice to the non-movant, or futility. Ziegler v. IBP Hog Market Inc., 249 F.3d 509, 519 (6th Cir. 2001); see Foman v. Davis. 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).

         There is no evidence before the Court suggesting any intent on the part of the Plaintiff to delay or prejudice this action. Therefore, the Court will grant the Plaintiff s motion to amend. The following individuals will be added as Defendants to this action: Tony Parker, Captain Keeton, Sergeant Villanova, and Donald Bright.

         IV. Alleged Facts

         The amended complaint[1] alleges that, on November 3 0, 2016, while incarcerated at the South Central Correctional Complex, the Plaintiff informed Defendant Sergeant f/n/u Trefton that the Plaintiff needed to clean his cell "in order to pray." (Doc. No. 1 at p. 2). According to the amended complaint, the Plaintiff is a Sunni Muslim, he prays to Allah five times a day, his cell was filthy, and he needed to clean his cell before praying. (Id.) The complaint ...

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