United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER DISMISSING CLAIMS AND GRANTING LEAVE
THOMAS ANDERSON, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
5, 2016, Plaintiff Rasheed Darnell Shelton, an inmate at the
West Tennessee State Penitentiary (“WTSP”) in
Henning, Tennessee, filed pro se a Complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 accompanied by a motion to
proceed in forma pauperis. On May 23, 2016, Shelton
provided additional documentation for his motion to proceed
in forma pauperis. On June 2, 2016, the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
granted Shelton leave to proceed in forma pauperis,
assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(a)-(b), and transferred this matter to the
United States District Court for the Western District of
Tennessee at Memphis. The Clerk shall record the Defendants
as Sergeant Johnathan Bartlett, Unit 6 Manager Sharon Rose,
C/O First Name Unknown (“FNU”) Tidwell, C/O FNU
Beasley, IRC Shelia Agnew, C/O Ms. FNU Johnson, IRC Kristi
Parker, Case Manager Evelyn Binkley, and Sergeant Jeffery
alleges that Defendants have put his life and the lives of
his family members in imminent danger because “these
officers and staff in the unit” have given inmates
Shelton's family members' phone numbers and addresses
as well as told other inmates that Shelton is a snitch and in
prison for rape charges. (Compl. at 3-4.) Shelton further
contends that “they” tell inmates that Shelton
should be raped and killed. (Id. at 2.) Defendants
have also given inmates Shelton's legal mail.
(Id.) Defendants have laughed about leaving the door
to Shelton's cell as well as the doors of other
inmates' cells unsecured so other inmates can harm
Shelton. (Id.) Shelton fears that other inmates will
rape him or kill him if he is not put in protective custody.
(Id.) Shelton seeks $6 million in damages or a
transfer back to the county jail from which he came.
(Id. at 5.)
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
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 Court applies the
pleadings standards under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), announced in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 677-79 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007). 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, 415 F. App'x 608,
612-13 (6th Cir. 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 behalf ...