United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER PARTIALLY DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING
ISSUANCE AND SERVICE OF PROCESS
THOMAS ANDERSON, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
October 31, 2016, Plaintiff Bruce Parks, Jr.
(“Parks”), an inmate at the Northeast
Correctional Complex (“NECX”), in Mountain City,
Tennessee, filed pro se a Complaint for the
violation of his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (ECF No. 1.) After receiving an order from the Court
(ECF No. 3), Parks filed a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis on November 16, 2016. (ECF No. 4.) The Court
granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and
assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(a)-(b) (ECF No. 5). The acts alleged in the
Complaint occurred when Parks was an inmate at the West
Tennessee State Penitentiary (“WTSP”) in Henning,
Tennessee. Thus, venue is proper in this Court. The Clerk
shall record the Defendants as WTSP Warden Jonathan Lebo and
Sergeant First Name Unknown (“FNU”) Cocarhan.
alleges that on August 12, 2016, he was awakened by three
staff members, Cpt. Middleton and Lt. Miller, who are not
parties to this action, and Defendant Sgt. Cocarhan. The
staff members told Parks to place handcuffs on and then moved
him from his cell while his property was removed from his
cell. (Compl. at 5, ECF No. 1.) When Parks inquired why this
was happening, Cpt. Middleton told Parks that Officer Hudson
had stated Parks had gotten semen on her. (Id.)
Parks contends that this allegation was never reported, and
there was no evidence of such conduct. (Id.) When
Parks came back to his cell, still in handcuffs, he was told
to put his knees on the bunk. (Id.) Park alleges
that at this time Defendant Sgt. Cocarhan hit him a number of
times, verbally and mentally abused him, and then put a tazer
to Parks head, threatening Parks to give him one reason why
he should not send Parks to the emergency room.
(Id.) Parks further contends that Defendant Sgt.
Cocarhan called Parks a sex offender and told Parks that he
did not have any rights. (Id.) After the assault
Parks was told not to move while the handcuffs were removed,
and then the officers walked out. (Id.)
contends he was bleeding the next morning and was asked by
Lt. Miller, who is not a party to this complaint, what
happened. (Id.) After Parks told her about the
assault, Lt. Miller got medical treatment for Parks, and Lt.
Barloc took photographs of Parks's injuries.
(Id.) Lt. Miller and other officers witnessed this
process. (Id.) Parks was then taken to an emergency
room outside of WTSP. (Id.) Upon his return to WTSP,
Parks filed a grievance. (Id.) Parks alleges that
because he is in lockdown and in the SMU program, he is not
able to ensure that the grievance was filed. (Id.)
Parks seeks compensatory and punitive damages in the amount
of $30, 000. (Id. at 6.)
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to
dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C.
assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim
on which relief may be granted, the standards under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and in Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007),
are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71
(6th Cir. 2010). “Accepting all well-pleaded
allegations in the complaint as true, the Court
‘consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint
to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to
relief.'” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d
380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
681) (alteration in original). “[P]leadings that . . .
are no more than conclusions . . . are not entitled to the
assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the
framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual
allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see
also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 (“Rule 8(a)(2)
still requires a ‘showing, ' rather than a blanket
assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some factual
allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a claimant
could satisfy the requirement of providing not only
‘fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also
‘grounds' on which the claim rests.”).
complaint can be frivolous either factually or legally. Any
complaint that is legally frivolous would ipso facto
fail to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Hill, 630 F.3d at 470 (citing
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325, 328-29
Whether a complaint is factually frivolous under §§
1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) is a separate issue from
whether it fails to state a claim for relief. Statutes
allowing a complaint to be dismissed as frivolous give
“judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based
on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the
unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's
factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Neitzke,
490 U.S. at 327, 109 S.Ct. 1827 (interpreting 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915). Unlike a dismissal for failure to state a
claim, where a judge must accept all factual allegations as
true, Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949-50, a judge does not
have to accept “fantastic or delusional” factual
allegations as true in prisoner complaints that are reviewed
for frivolousness. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28, 109
Id. at 471.
se complaints are to be held ‘to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ' and
should therefore be liberally construed.”
Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v.
Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Pro
se litigants and prisoners are not exempt from the
requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989);
see also Brown v. Matauszak, No. 09-2259, 2011 WL
285251, at *5 (6th Cir. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal
of pro se complaint for failure to comply with
“unique pleading requirements” and stating
“a court cannot ‘create a claim which [a
plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading'”)
(quoting Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co.,
518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975)) (alteration in
original); Payne v. Sec'y of Treas., 73 F.
App'x 836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua
sponte dismissal of complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2) and stating, “[n]either this court nor the
district court is required to create Payne's claim for
her”); cf. Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231
(2004) (“District judges have no obligation to act as
counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants.”);
Young Bok Song v. Gipson, 423 F. App'x 506, 510
(6th Cir. 2011) (“[W]e decline to affirmatively require
courts to ferret out the strongest cause of action on ...