United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Rashad Harlan, a resident of Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, brings
this pro se, in forma pauperis action against Nathan
Bolton; Mt. Pleasant Police Department; City of Mt. Pleasant,
Tennessee; Leigh Anne Pickup; Stephen Barr; Amit Choksi;
Bradley Rodgers; and Maury Regional Medical Center, alleging
violations of his civil rights. (Doc. No. 1). Harlan seeks
damages as well as attorney fees. (Id. at p. 3).
Required Screening of the Complaint
Plaintiff is proceeding as a pauper in this action;
therefore, the Court must conduct an initial review of the
complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and dismiss it or
any portion of it that is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim for which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. In assessing whether the complaint in this case
states a claim on which relief may be granted, the Court
applies the standards under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, as construed by Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009), and Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007).
See Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir.
2010) (holding that 'the dismissal standard articulated
in Iqbal and Twombly governs dismissals for
failure to state a claim under ' 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)]
because the relevant statutory language tracks the language
in Rule 12(b)(6)”).
all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, the
Court 'consider[s] the factual allegations in [the]
complaint to determine if they plausibly suggest an
entitlement to relief”
Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir.
2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681) (alteration
in original). A[P]leadings that . . . are no more than
conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth.
While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a
complaint, they must be supported by factual
allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see
also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 (“Rule 8(a)(2)
still requires a 'showing, ' rather than a blanket
assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some factual
allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant
could satisfy the requirement of providing not only 'fair
notice' of the nature of the claim, but also
'grounds' on which the claim rests.”).
se complaints are to be held to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, and should therefore be
liberally construed.” Williams, 631 F.3d at
383 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Pro
se litigants, however, are not exempt from the
requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989);
see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 F.App'x 608,
613 (6th Cir. 2011) (“[A] court cannot create a claim
which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his
pleading”) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted); Payne v. Sec'y of Treas., 73
F.App'x 836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua
sponte dismissal of complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2) and stating, A[n]either this court nor the district
court is required to create Payne's claim for
her”); cf. Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231
(2004) (“District judges have no obligation to act as
counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants.”); Young
Bok Song v. Gipson, 423 F.App'x 506, 510 (6th Cir.
2011) (“[W]e decline to affirmatively require courts to
ferret out the strongest cause of action on behalf of pro se
litigants. Not only would that duty be overly burdensome, it
would transform the courts from neutral arbiters of disputes
into advocates for a particular party. While courts are
properly charged with protecting the rights of all who come
before it, that responsibility does not encompass advising
litigants as to what legal theories they should
to the complaint, on March 25, 2016, the Plaintiff was
arrested for simple possession of marijuana after a traffic
stop and transported first to the Mt. Pleasant Police
Department and then to the Maury County Jail. Other than
marijuana in his sock, which the Plaintiff disclosed, the
Plaintiff denied having any further drugs in his possession.
Officer Bolton accompanied the Plaintiff to the jail and, at
the request of Officer Bolton, Corrections Officer Thomas
performed a strip search of the Plaintiff Ato look for any
further narcotics or contraband.” (Doc. No. 1 at p. 4).
According to the police report, Thomas Aobserved a white
substance wrapped in plastic in the area of just in
Harlan's rectal area also witnessing Justin Harlan
pushing the object into his anal cavity.”
(Id.) The Plaintiff was placed in an observation
cell and his bathroom usage was monitored for the duration of
his time at the jail. (Id.)
am on the following day, a warrant was issued to search the
Plaintiff for illegal narcotics. The Plaintiff was taken to
the Maury Regional Hospital, and a visual inspection followed
by a digital (finger) inspection of the Plaintiffs anus was
performed by Physician's Assistant Leigh Anne Pickup.
(Id.) “'[R]ound balls' were felt by
Leigh Anne Pickup, PA” and she ordered electronic
imaging of the Plaintiffs abdomen. (Id.) No
irregularities were seen via the electronic imaging. However,
Bolton then gave consent for the Plaintiff to undergo an
endoscopy. Dr. Bradley Rogers administered anesthesia to the
Plaintiff, who then underwent an endoscopy by Dr. Amit
Choski. (Id. at p. 5). The complaint alleges that no
one obtained information from the Plaintiff, who cannot read
and operates on a substantially lower level than a normal
26-year-old, regarding his current medications prior to the
administration of anesthesia. (Id.)
the endoscopy, Dr. Choski found internal hemorrhoids and did
not find any foreign objects. (Id.) After the
procedure, the Plaintiff's A coloration was completely
off as if he could not breathe.” (Id.) The
Plaintiff was discharged from the hospital and returned to
the Maury County Jail but, on the following day after his
release from jail, he returned to the emergency room with a
skin reaction from the anesthesia the day before.
(Id.) The Plaintiff subsequently was charged for the
hospital procedures, which he believes were unnecessary and
unconstitutionally forced upon him. (Id.)
Mt. Pleasant Police Department
the complaint names the Mt. Pleasant Police Department as a
defendant to this action. However, police departments and
sheriff's departments are not proper parties to a Â§ 1983
suit; they are not bodies politic and, as such, not
Apersons” within the meaning of Â§ 1983. See,
e.g., Smith v. Tenn. Dep't of Corr., No.
3:09-cv-0485, 2009 WL 1505308, at *3 (M.D. Tenn. May. 27,
2009). Therefore, the Mt. Pleasant Police Department is not a
suable entity under Â§ 1983. See Mathes v. Metro.
Gov't of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., No.
3:10BcvB0496, 2010 WL 3341889, at *2 (M.D. Tenn. Aug. 25,
2010) (A[F]ederal district courts in Tennessee have
frequently and uniformly held that police departments ...