United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
JAMES W. THURMAN, Plaintiff,
MCMINN COUNTY JAIL, Defendant.
S. MATTICE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court is in receipt of a pro se prisoner's complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc.1] and a motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1]. It appears from
the motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
that Plaintiff lacks sufficient financial resources to pay
the filing fee. Accordingly, Plaintiff's application for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 2] will be
GRANTED and as Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated, he will
not be assessed the filing fee. For the reasons set forth
below, however, no process shall issue and this action will
be DISMISSED for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted under § 1983.
courts shall, at any time, sua sponte dismiss any
claims filed in forma pauperis that are frivolous or
malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, or are against a
defendant who is immune. See, e.g., 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) The dismissal standard articulated
by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662 (2009) and in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 554 (2007) “governs dismissals for failure
state a claim under [28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B]
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 a review under
this rule, 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).
Courts liberally construe pro se pleadings filed in civil
rights cases and hold them to a less stringent standard than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must establish that he was deprived of a federal
right by a person acting under color of state law. Black
v. Barberton Citizens Hosp., 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th
Cir. 1998); O'Brien v. City of Grand Rapids, 23
F.3d 990, 995 (6th Cir. 1994); Russo v. City of
Cincinnati, 953 F.2d 1036, 1042 (6th Cir. 1992); see
also Braley v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th
Cir. 1990) (stating that “Section 1983 does not itself
create any constitutional rights; it creates a right of
action for the vindication of constitutional guarantees found
Allegations of the Complaint
substance of Plaintiff's complaint states, in its
entirety, as follows:
“[S]aid that I was charged with a controlled
substance and distributing f[ro]m my Home” [Doc. 2 p.
3]. The only Defendant in this action is McMinn County Jail,
though Plaintiff also wrote “offense principally”
in the portion of the complaint designated for listing
additional defendants [Id.].
McMinn County Jail is not a suable entity under § 1983.
Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
688-90 and n.55 (1978) (for purposes of a § 1983 action,
a “person” includes individuals and “bodies
politic and corporate”); Marbry v. Correctional
Medical Services, 2000 WL 1720959, at*2 (6th Cir. Nov.
6, 2000) (holding that “the Shelby County Jail is not
an entity subject to suit under § 1983”) (citing
Rhodes v. McDannel, 945 F.2d 117, 120 (6th Cir.
1991)); Cage v. Kent Cty. Corr. Facility, 1997 WL
225647, at *1 (6th Cir. May 1, 1997) (stating that
“[t]he district court also properly found that the jail
facility named as a defendant was not an entity subject to
suit under § 1983”).
to the extent Plaintiff seeks to hold any individual liable
for his underlying criminal conviction(s), his complaint
fails to state a claim, as Plaintiff has not alleged that the
conviction has been reversed of otherwise invalidated. In
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486 (1994), the
Supreme Court held that if a judgment for plaintiff
necessarily implies the invalidity of an underlying criminal
conviction, the action must be dismissed unless the plaintiff
can show the conviction has been reversed on direct appeal,
expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
court, or called into question by a federal court's
issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. Id.; see
also Norwood v. Mich. Dep't of Corrs., 67 Fed.
App'x 286, 287 (6th Cir. 1994) (holding that a claim that
defendants conspired to revoke a plaintiff's parole
“necessarily implies the invalidity of his
confinement” and is therefore governed by the
abstention doctrine set forth in Heck). Accordingly,
Heck compels dismissal of any claim arising out of
Plaintiff's underlying convictions.
extent Plaintiff asserts a claim arising out of any criminal
charges currently pending against him, any such claim is
barred by the abstention doctrine set forth in Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), which provides that federal
courts must abstain from entertaining lawsuits by plaintiffs
seeking to enjoin a criminal prosecution against them in
state court where those ongoing proceedings implicate
important state interests and the plaintiffs have an adequate
opportunity to raise their challenges in that forum. See
O'Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S. 488, 499- 504 (1974).
Plaintiff has not set forth any facts suggesting that the
limited exceptions to this doctrine, all of which are
interpreted narrowly, apply in this case. See Zalman v.
Armstrong, 802 F.2d 199, 205-06 (6th Cir. 1986);
Younger, 401 U.S. 46, 53-54. Accordingly, any claim
arising out of current criminal charges are likewise barred.
Plaintiff's complaint does not state a claim upon which
relief may be granted under § 1983 ...