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Gore v. Core Civic Inc.

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

August 11, 2017

CORE CIVIC INC., et al., Defendants.



         Mark Gore is an inmate of the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility in Nashville, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Core Civic Inc., f/n/u Rychen, Darrell Jones, f/n/u Hebron, f/n/u Carter, f/n/u Sowers, f/n/u Andrews, and Jane Doe, alleging violations of his federal civil and constitutional rights. (Doc. No. 1). As relief, the Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive relief. (Id. at 13).

         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

         The Plaintiff brings his federal 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.

         III. Alleged Facts

         The Plaintiff alleges that when he arrived at the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility on July 12, 2016. Upon his arrival, the Plaintiff informed Jane Doe, the unidentified nurse in charge of inmate intake, of his medical condition and of the bottom bunk pass issued to him by the Criminal Justice Center where he was previously incarcerated.

         On July 25, 2016, the Plaintiff was placed into Unit Kilo, Cell 222, top bunk. After the Plaintiff advised an unnamed corrections officer that he could not physically climb onto the top bunk, the corrections officer referred the Plaintiff to Program Counselor Hebron. Hebron told the Plaintiff that no bottom bunks were available at that time but that Hebron would move the Plaintiff when a bottom bunk became available. However, even though three bottom bunks became available on the following day, Hebron refused to move the Plaintiff. Later on the same day, the Plaintiff attempted to climb onto his top bunk. In doing so, the Plaintiff ripped his abdominal wall, making his hernia “significantly” worse and “severely [sic] hurting” himself. (Doc. No. 1 at 9).

         The Plaintiff then told Captain Carter what had happened, and she told the Plaintiff “she would take care of it before lock down.” (Id.) At lock down when Carter had not returned, the Plaintiff refused to return to his cell and asked to speak with Carter. The Plaintiff was sent to the sally port to wait on Carter. At 10:30 p.m., Sergeant Sowers came to the sally port instead of Carter and told the Plaintiff that if he “did not go back to [his] cell [he] would be taken to punitive segregation.” (Id.) The following day, Hebron moved the Plaintiff to a bottom bunk in another unit.

         On August 1, 2016, Core Civic issued the Plaintiff a bottom bunk pass. On November 1, 2016, the Plaintiff was moved to a different unit, top bunk. The Plaintiff told Carter, who again did not take any action. The Plaintiff ...

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