United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
RONNIE QUENTIN BROWN, No. 415080, Plaintiff
BRUCE WESTBROOKS, et al., Defendants.
A Trauger United States District Judge
Ronnie Quentin Brown, an inmate of the Riverbend Maximum
Security Institution in Nashville, Tennessee, has filed a
pro se, in forma pauperis complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden Bruce
Westbrooks, Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC)
Commissioner Tony Park, Assistant Commissioner of Operations
Jason Woodall, f/n/u Fish, and Andrew Brown, alleging a
violation of the plaintiff's federal civil rights.
(Docket No. 1). The plaintiff seeks damages, injunctive
relief, a change in his security classification, and the
return of “good time” credits. (Id. at
plaintiff's 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
PLRA Screening Standard
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 1915A 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. § 1915A(a), and summary dismissal of the
complaint on the same grounds as those articulated in §
1915(e)(2)(B). Id. § 1915A(b).
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)).
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).
Section 1983 Standard
plaintiff brings his 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, the 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.
complaint alleges that, in December of 2016, the plaintiff
was placed in “the hole” or segregation for a
period of twenty days without explanation. During this time,
the plaintiff wrote many grievances to various individuals
trying to find out why he had been placed in segregation.
According to the complaint, officer f/n/u McClure told the
plaintiff that his grievances were
“inappropriate” and other defendants laughed at
January 20, 2017, the complaint alleges that administrative
hearing board members knocked on the door of the
plaintiff's segregation cell. The plaintiff learned that
he had been placed in segregation based on the word of a
confidential informant who claimed that the plaintiff had
possessed a steel rod or “ice pick” found in a
utility closet. The plaintiff maintains that he has never
possessed or seen the rod. His administrative hearing was
held outside of his cell door. He asked to produce witnesses
and other evidence, but was not permitted to do so. The
plaintiff was then moved to “max” classification.
He has written at least thirty-two letters to TDOC officials
asking for help as the plaintiff believes his due process
rights were violated by the sham administrative hearing.
(Docket No. 1 at pp. 3-10).
Section 1983 official capacity claims for ...