United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
ANTHONY TUCKER, No. 206436, Plaintiff,
F/N/U SALANDY, et al., Defendants.
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Tucker, an inmate of the Rutherford County Adult Detention
Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in
forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Deputy Chief f/n/u Salandy, Captain Chris Fly, the
Rutherford County Jail, Sergeant f/n/u Davis, Corporal f/n/u
Layhaw, Lieutenant f/n/u Flenn, Correction Officer f/n/u
Morrison, and Correction Officer f/n/u Spencer, alleging the
deprivation of the Plaintiff's personal property. (Doc.
No. 1). As relief, the Plaintiff asks for his books to be
returned or, alternatively, for $326.00 to cover the cost of
replacing the books. (Id. at p. 5).
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.
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
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.
complaint alleges that, under the prior administration of the
Rutherford County Adult Detention Center, the Plaintiff was
permitted to possess books in his cell as long as the books
were listed on a property sheet, approved by the
administration, and could fit in two tote or inmate property
bags. The Plaintiff alleges that, since January 2016 or
earlier, the Plaintiff's twenty-seven (27) books in his
cell were approved by “Major Cagle” and could fit
in two tote bags. According to the complaint, after a new
administration took over in October 2016, a new rule
regarding inmate books was implemented. The new rule permits
inmates only to have three books in their cell at any one
time, as “[e]xcess books and/or items are deemed a
threat to the safety and security of the facility.”
(Doc. No. 1, Attach. 1). The new rule also requires inmates
to donate their books to the jail library after they are
finished reading the books.
February 4, 2017, the Plaintiff's jail pod was subjected
to a “shakedown” or a search, including a strip
search of all inmates in the pod. When the Plaintiff returned
to his cell after his strip search, he discovered that all of
his books were missing. The Plaintiff's family had sent
these books to the Plaintiff, and the Plaintiff has receipts
for all of the books showing that they cost $326.00. The
Plaintiff did not consent to anyone taking his books or
donating his books to the jail library. He believes that his
books are “grandfathered in” as per the previous
administration's policy or, at a minimum, he should have
been given the opportunity to choose whether he wanted to
donate any books in his possession in excess of the new rule.
The Plaintiff believes that the jail should supply inmates
with library books instead of using the inmates' personal
books to stock the jail's library. (Doc. No. 1 at pp. 5,
the complaint names the Rutherford County Jail as a
Defendant. However, the Rutherford County Jail or Adult
Detention Center, like any other jail or workhouse, is a
place; it is not a “person” that can be sued
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Cf. Fuller v. Cocran,
No. 1:05-CV-76, 2005 WL 1802415, at *3 (E.D. Tenn. July 27,
2005) (dismissing § 1983 claims against the Bradley
County Justice Center on the same basis); Seals v.
Grainger County Jail, No. 3:04CV606, 2005 WL 1076326, at
*1 (E.D. Tenn. May 6, 2005) (“The Grainger County Jail,
however, is not a suable entity within the meaning of §
1983.”). Thus, ...