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Woods v. State

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

August 9, 2017

REGINALD WOODS Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE, Defendant.

          ORDER DISMISSING CLAIMS, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF APPELLATE FILING FEE

          S. THOMAS ANDERSON CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On August 24, 2016, Plaintiff Reginald Woods, who at the time of filing was a pre-trial detainee at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center in Memphis, Tennessee, filed pro se a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 accompanied by a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. On September 16, 2016, the Court granted Woods 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). The Clerk shall record the Defendant as the State of Tennessee.

         BACKGROUND

         Woods alleges that an arresting officer told him he was being arrested for making a possible threat. According to the Complaint, the caller reporting the alleged threat told officers three different lies in the arrest report. Woods specifically denies that there were weapons on the premises. Wood also points out that an individual identified only as Mr. Grady, who is not a party to this action, did not press charges against Woods. Woods alleges that the charge was dismissed and then refiled on May 8, 2015, exposing him to double jeopardy. Woods finally alleges that he had an additional exculpatory witness, though it is not clear from the Complaint what her testimony would have been. Woods asks to be released, to have the state drop all charges, and to receive reimbursement for lost wages, job tools, and mental stress.

         On November 18, 2015, Woods was indicted for criminal attempted aggravated burglary and domestic assault with bodily harm under indictment number 15 05811-15114158. On September 14, 2016, a jury found Woods guilty on both counts.

         SCREENING STANDARD

         The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the complaint-

(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. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         In 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 in 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.”).

         “Pro 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'”) (quotation omitted); 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 of pro se litigants.”).

         I. Section 1983

         Woods filed his Complaint on the court-supplied form for actions under 42 U.S.C. ...


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