United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
a pro se prisoner's complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. The Court previously granted Plaintiff's motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis, separated the
complaints filed as one document in this case into three
separate actions, and held that this action would proceed
only as to the first complaint therein, specifically the
first three pages of the complaint filed by Plaintiff [Doc.
4]. 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); 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 elsewhere”).
ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT
complaint seeks monetary and declaratory relief and a class
action injunction based upon allegations that, prior to his
transfer from Sullivan County Jail to Bledsoe County
Correctional Complex (“BCCX”) on December 14,
2015, Sheriff's deputies unreasonably assaulted him twice
[Doc. 1 p. 1-3]. Plaintiff states that when he arrived at
BCCX, he reported these assaults to prison officials and that
he also reported the assaults to mental health staff on or
about December 22, 2015 [Id. at 2]. Plaintiff
complains, however, that Defendant Tennessee Department of
Correction (“TDOC”) did not permit Plaintiff to
file criminal charges despite Plaintiff filing multiple
grievances, making verbal complaints, and sending a letter to
the Defendant TDOC's main building in Nashville
[Id. at 2]. Thus, Plaintiff states that he
“fears” that Defendant TDOC has a policy of
ignoring complaints from incoming prisoners who have been
assaulted and/or sexually assaulted [Id. at 2].
Plaintiff alleges that he was assaulted and transferred in
December 2015, that he reported that assault to TDOC
officials and others immediately or soon after his transfer,
and that he continued to protest his inability to file
criminal charges. Plaintiff's complaint, however, was not
filed until April 14, 2017. Thus, Plaintiff's claims are
time-barred. Zundel v. Holder, 687 F.3d 271, 281
(6th Cir. 2012) (holding that, in Tennessee, a one-year
statute of limitations is applicable to § 1983 actions);
see also Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104(a)(3).
Plaintiff had timely claims arising out of the alleged
incidents underlying his complaint, however, Plaintiff
alleges only that Defendant TDOC denied Plaintiff the
opportunity to file criminal charges against the individuals
who assaulted him and Plaintiff “lacks a judicially
cognizable interest in the prosecution or nonprosecution of
another.” Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S.
614, 619 (1973). Further, Plaintiff has only sued Defendant
TDOC, and the Eleventh Amendment provides the State of
Tennessee with immunity from § 1983 claims. Rodgers
v. Mich. Dep't of Corrections, 29 Fed. App'x
259, 260 (6th Cir. 2002). This immunity extends to state
governmental agencies, as they are “arms” of the
state. Dubuc v. Mich. Bd. Of Law Examiners, 342 F.3d
610, 615 (6th Cir. 2003).
Plaintiffs complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted under § 1983 and this action will be
reasons set forth above, even liberally construing the
complaint in favor of Plaintiff, it fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted under § 1983 and this
action will therefore be DISMISSED pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915(A).
Court CERTIFIES that any appeal from this
action would not be taken in good faith and would be totally
frivolous. See Rule 24 of ...