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McCorvey v. Prison Transport Services of America, LLC

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

June 1, 2017

MICHAEL HOSEA MCCORVEY, SR., No. 2440109, Plaintiff,
v.
PRISON TRANSPORT SERVICES OF AMERICA, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Michael Hosea McCorvey, Sr., an inmate of the Orleans Parish Prison in New Orleans, Louisiana, brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Prison Transport Services of America, LLC (PTS), the as-yet identified President of PTS, Officer f/n/u Jordan, and Officer f/n/u Davison violated the Plaintiff's civil rights while transporting him from South Carolina to Louisiana. (Doc. Nos. 10 and 17).

         The Plaintiff initially filed this case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. After granting the Plaintiff in forma pauperis status, the Honorable Jay C. Zainey dismissed some of the Plaintiff's claims and severed and transferred the remaining Defendants and claims case to this district by Order entered on May 23, 2017. (Doc. No. 20). The Order expressly stated that “no ruling is made as to the sufficiency of the complaint with respect to the claims that have been severed and transferred to the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division, leaving that determination to the receiving court.” (Id. at 1).

         Accordingly, the Plaintiff's remaining claims and defendants are before the Court at this time 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 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).

         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 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, in October of 2016, the Plaintiff was extradited from the Anderson County Detention Center in Anderson, South Carolina, to the Orleans Justice Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was transported in a van operated by PTS. According to the complaint, the Plaintiff was subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement during the seven-day journey. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the van was overcrowded and he was “not able to take baths, or take care of personal hygiene for days.” (Doc. No. 6-1 at 10). Except for periodic bathroom breaks, the Plaintiff was on the van continuously for five days of the circuitous seven day trip; the van stopped for only one overnight break on the fifth day.

         The complaint further alleges that the van was involved in an “almost fatal accident” in Atlanta, Georgia, where the van driver hit another vehicle. (Doc. No. 17 at 1). The complaint alleges that the Plaintiff suffered a leg injury, loss of balance, and a painful ear infection during the trip. (Doc. No. 6-1 at 10). Additionally, the Plaintiff has developed arthritis in his right leg after the trip. (Id.) The Plaintiff received medical attention for both his leg injury and ear problem upon his arrival in New Orleans but not until then. (Id.)

         IV. ...


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