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Chaffins v. Lindamood

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

July 24, 2017

ZACHARY BILL CHAFFINS, No. 458927, Plaintiff,
v.
CHERRY LINDAMOOD, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

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

         Zachary Bill Chaffins, an inmate of the South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton, Tennessee, filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Cherry Lindamood, Jason Medlin, Brandon Maloney, Ryan Deathrige, Rhonda Staggs, Cookie Staggs, and Jesse James, alleging violations of the Plaintiff's civil rights. (Doc. No. 1). As relief, the Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and damages. (Id. at 5).

         The 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.

         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 complaint 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, while an inmate of the South Central Correctional Facility, the Plaintiff has been held in segregation for eleven months during which time he has not been permitted to make telephone calls to his attorney, attend religious services, practice his religion, wear shoes including when outdoors during inclement weather, watch television, or utilize a law library. His visits with family are limited to once a month and must be scheduled in advance. According to the complaint, the Plaintiff has received no disciplinary infractions and should not have been housed in segregation with these restrictions. The complaint further alleges that the conditions of confinement at the facility are unsafe and include mold in the cells and exposed live wires in the showers.

         The complaint also alleges that the Plaintiff has filed formal or informal grievances concerning his segregation that were ignored by Defendants Lindamood, Maloney, James, C. Staggs, R. Staggs, Medlin, and Deathridge. According to the complaint, after the Plaintiff aired his grievances, Officer f/n/u Bright “jerked [the Plaintiff] out of bed . . . and told [him] he'd better keep his mouth shut.” (Doc. No. 1 at 4-5, 7-9).

         IV. Analysis

         A. Section 1983 official capacity claims for ...


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