United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Northeastern Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Scott Clayborn, is proceeding pro se. He is an
inmate at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in
Hartsville, Tennessee. He brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against the Fentress County Sheriff's
Department; five members of the Fentress County Sheriff's
Department (Detective Nicholas Hamby, Corrections Officer
Chris Martin, and Deputies Josh Densmore, Thomas Reagan and
T.J. Miller); and two members of the Jamestown, Tennessee
Police Department (Officers Rockford Garrett and Lance
Stephens); seeking damages.
April 28, 2016, a police officer attempted to pull over the
Plaintiff and his passenger, Stephanie Pigue. Apparently,
they were driving a truck that had been reported stolen (Doc.
No. 1 at 28). The Plaintiff, however, refused to pull over
and sped off (Id. at 5). The officer gave chase and
called for assistance.
officers joined in the chase. Eventually, they were able to
render Plaintiff's vehicle “inoperable”
(Id.). Plaintiff and his passenger exited the
vehicle and fled the scene on foot (Id.). Within
seconds, though, Detective Hamby, with the assistance of
Corrections Officer Martin, was able to chase the Plaintiff
down and bring him to the ground. Force was used to apprehend
the Plaintiff (Id. at 5 and 8). Detective Hamby
allegedly pistol whipped the Plaintiff into submission
(Id.), even though the Plaintiff claims that he was
offering no resistance (Id. at 8-9).
Plaintiff was placed in handcuffs and taken to a police
cruiser (Id. at 9). Despite Plaintiff's numerous
and obvious injuries, Sheriff Cravens, who has not been named
as a defendant, ordered Officer Garrett to transport him to
the Fentress County Justice Center for booking, rather than
to a hospital for medical care (Id. at 10). Officer
Garrett complied with these instructions. However, prior to
being booked, the Plaintiff was taken to the Jamestown
Regional Medical Center for treatment (Id. at 11).
Upon his return to the Justice Center, the Plaintiff was
charged with possession of stolen property, destruction of
private property, felonious evading arrest and four traffic
offenses (Id. at 24).
Plaintiff now claims that excessive force was used to arrest
him in violation of his constitutional rights. He further
claims that the defendants denied him medical care by failing
to take him directly to a hospital (Id. at 9).
establish a claim for ' 1983 relief, the Plaintiff must
plead and prove that a person or persons, while acting under
color of state law, deprived him of some right guaranteed by
the Constitution or laws of the United States. Parratt v.
Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981).
Plaintiff has named the Fentress County Sheriff's
Department as a defendant. A county sheriff's department,
however, is not a person that can be sued under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Petty v. County of Franklin, Ohio, 478
F.3d 341, 347 (6th Cir. 2007), see also
Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th
Cir. 1994). Therefore, the Plaintiff has failed to state an
actionable claim against this defendant.
action is being brought against the remaining defendants in
their official capacities only (Doc. No. 1 at 2 and 7). The
Plaintiff seeks damages not from the individually named
defendants but from the defendants as agents in their
official capacity. Pusey v. City of Youngstown, 11
F.3d 652, 657 (6th Cir.1993). “An official
capacity suit is, in all respects other than name, to be
treated as a suit against the entity.” Kentucky v.
Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985). In essence, then, the
Plaintiff's claims are against Fentress County, the
municipal entity responsible for the Fentress County
Sheriff's Department, and the City of Jamestown, the
municipal entity responsible for the Jamestown Police
Department. Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 25 (1991).
of governmental liability requires a showing that the
misconduct complained of came about pursuant to a policy,
statement, regulation, decision or custom promulgated by
Fentress County and the City of Jamestown or their agents,
the Fentress County Sheriff's Department and the
Jamestown Police Department. Monell v. New York City
Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-691
(1978). In short, for these municipal entities to be liable
under ' 1983, there must be a direct causal link between
an official policy or custom and the alleged constitutional
violation. City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378,
385 (1989). To establish the requisite causal link, the
Plaintiff has to “identify the policy, connect the
policy to the county itself and show that the particular
injury was incurred because of the execution of that
policy”. Garner v. Memphis Police Department,
8 F.3d 358, 363-64 (6th Cir.1993).
are no allegations in the Complaint suggesting that the
Plaintiff was assaulted or denied medical care because of a
policy, regulation or custom promulgated and enforced by
Fentress County or the City of Jamestown. Consequently, the
Plaintiff has failed to state a claim against the remaining
defendants (Hamby, Martin, Densmore, Reagan, Miller, Garrett
and Stephens) acting in their official capacities.
absence of an actionable claim, the Court is obliged to
dismiss the Complaint sua ...