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Clark v. Dodd

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

April 25, 2017

TAMIR T. CLARK, No. 421853, Plaintiff,
DANNY DODD, Defendants.



         Tamir T. Clark, an inmate of the South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Assistant Warden Danny Dodd, Unit Manager Kristen Buttram, and Chief of Unit Management Ryan Deatherage, alleging violations of the Plaintiffs federal civil rights. (Doc. No. 1).

         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, " Id. § 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); 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 South Central Correctional Facility, on July 27, 2016, the facility received a package for the Plaintiff consisting of one prayer rug, one prayer cap, one Holy Quran, and three ounces of prayer oil. This package was ordered by Tammy Collins from a religious vendor named Madina Industrial Corporation and sent to the Plaintiff by Tammy Collins. The complaint alleges that the package was sent in accordance with Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) policy #118.01 and in accordance with the Religious Property Memo approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Correction. (Doc. No. 1 at 1).

         According to the complaint, the Plaintiff did not receive his package. After more than a week had passed, the Plaintiff wrote a letter to the Assistant Warden Danny Dodd to inquire as to the location of the Plaintiff s package. On August 15, 2016, Dodd responded that the package was in his office and "under review." (Id.) On August 17, 2016, Property Room Supervisor f/n/u Riley sent the Plaintiff a memo stating that his package "was sent back because it was not an approved vendor of the Tennessee Department of Correction." (Id. at 2).

         Further, the complaint alleges that, on January 26, 2017, Unit Manager Kristen Buttram and Chief of Unit Management Ryan Deatherage conducted an inspection of the Plaintiffs cell during which time the Plaintiff told them that he had been living "in a 'black mold' infested cell for almost six months and that it was starting to affect [the Plaintiff s] health." (Id.) The complaint alleges that Buttram and Deatherage "ran out [of] the cell and since then they have never made an attempt to correct the problem or remove [the Plaintiff] out [of] the cell." (Id.)

         IV. ...

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