United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
13, 2016, Plaintiff Tommy Earl Jones, a pro se prisoner,
initiated this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 [Doc. 2]. Now before the Court are
Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis [Doc. 1], two motions to voluntarily dismiss
particular defendants and proposed defendants [Docs. 18, 19],
and two supplemental briefs [Docs. 6, 7], which the Court
construes, respectively, as a motion to amend pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) and a motion to
supplement pursuant to Rule 15(d). Also before the Court are
a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant Sonia Teles
[Doc. 10], and a motion to dismiss and motion for leave to
file documents under seal filed by Defendants Curry Butler,
Steven Wheeler, and Centurion [Docs. 14, 16].
reasons set forth herein, the Court will
GRANT Plaintiff's motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1], DENY AS
PREMATURE the motions filed by Defendants Teles,
Butler, Wheeler, and Centurion [Docs. 10, 14, 16],
GRANT Plaintiff's motion to voluntarily
dismiss Butler and Wheeler [Doc. 18], DENY
Plaintiff's construed motion to amend his Complaint [Doc.
6], DENY AS MOOT Plaintiff's motion to
dismiss Andrews and Sator from this action [Doc. 19], and
DENY Plaintiff's construed motion to
supplement his Complaint [Doc.7]. Finally, the Court will
DISMISS this action for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IFP
has moved for leave to proceed in forma pauperis in
his instant suit [Doc. 1]. Pursuant to the Prison Litigation
Reform Act of 1996 (“PLRA”), a prisoner may not
bring a civil action in forma pauperis:
if the prisoner has, on 3 or more prior occasions, while
incarcerated or detained in any facility, brought an action .
. . that was dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of
serious physical injury.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
to filing the instant lawsuit, Plaintiff has filed at least
three civil rights actions that were dismissed on the grounds
set forth in § 1915(g). See Jones v. Raye, Case
No. 3:12-cv-1230, Doc. 8 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 27, 2012)
(dismissed for failure to state a claim); Jones v.
Sator, Case No. 3:12-cv-519, Doc. 4 (M.D. Tenn. May 30,
2012) (dismissed for failure to state a claim); Jones v.
Wall, Case No. 3:09-cv-1037, Doc. 4 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 3,
2009) (dismissed for failure to state a claim). Accordingly,
Plaintiff has accumulated “three strikes” under
§ 1915(g), and he may not proceed in forma
pauperis in the instant action unless he can establish
that he is in “imminent danger of serious physical
plaintiff asserting that he qualifies for the imminent danger
exception must allege a threat or prison condition that is
“real and proximate, ” and the danger of serious
physical injury from that threat or condition “must
exist at the time the complaint is
filed[.]” Vandiver v. Prison Health
Servs, Inc., 727 F.3d 580, 585 (6th Cir. 2013). The
allegations in the complaint “must be sufficient to
allow a court to draw reasonable inferences that the danger
Sixth Circuit has specifically addressed the applicability of
the imminent danger exception to a plaintiff alleging a
danger of serious harm due to failure to treat a chronic
“[A] plaintiff who alleges a danger of serious harm due
to a failure to treat a chronic illness or condition
satisfies the imminent-danger exception under § 1915(g),
as incremental harm that culminates in a serious physical
injury may present a danger equal to harm that results from
an injury that occurs all at once. We reject the notion that
the inclusion of the word “imminent” in §
1915(g) allows us to grant IFP status only after a
plaintiff's condition has deteriorated such that the next
instance of maltreatment would result in a serious physical
injury. Imposing such a restriction would ignore the
progressive and worsening nature of injuries often associated
with chronic illness and would result in unnecessary
suffering by those afflicted with these conditions. We thus
believe that for the purposes of § 1915(g), an
individual afflicted with a chronic illness that left
untreated would result in serious injury faces imminent
danger when the illness is left untreated.
Id. at 587.
other cases, district courts have allowed this
Plaintiff's claims to proceed based on the imminent
danger exception to the three-strike rule. See Jones v.
Clement, Case No. 3:16-cv-257-PLR-CCS, Doc. 24 (E.D.
Tenn. Feb. 22, 2017); Jones v. Benitez, Case No.
2:15-cv-2082, Doc. 5 (W.D. Tenn. June 24, 2015).
Specifically, this Court previously found that Plaintiff had
“sufficiently alleged that he faced an imminent danger
of serious physical injury” due to allegations that he
was inadequately treated for pain related to his Crohn's
disease, a chronic illness. See Jones v. Clement,
Case No. 3:16-cv-257-PLR-CCS, Doc. 24. Because this case also
involves allegations related to Plaintiff's treatment for
Crohn's disease (or lack thereof), the Court again must
find that Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged that he faced
imminent danger of serious physical injury from his
mistreatment and unaddressed pain at the time he filed the
instant Complaint. Plaintiff has thus demonstrated that he is
entitled to exemption from the three-strike rule in this
appears from the motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis that Plaintiff lacks sufficient financial
resources to pay the $350.00 filing fee. Accordingly,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, Plaintiff's motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1] will be
Plaintiff is an inmate at the Northeast Correctional Complex,
he is herewith ASSESSED the civil filing fee
of $350.00. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1)(A) and
(B), the custodian of Plaintiff's inmate trust account at
the institution where he now resides is directed to submit to
the Clerk, U.S. District Court, 800 Market Street, Knoxville,
Tennessee, 37902, as an initial partial payment, whichever is
(a) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly deposits to
Plaintiff's inmate trust account; or
(b) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly balance in
Plaintiff's inmate trust account for the six-month period
preceding the filing of the complaint.
the custodian shall submit twenty percent (20%) of
Plaintiff's preceding monthly income (or income credited
to Plaintiff's trust account for the preceding month),
but only when such monthly income exceeds ten dollars
($10.00), until the full filing fee of three hundred fifty
dollars ($350.00) as authorized under 28 U.S.C. §
1914(a) has been paid to the Clerk. See 28 U.S.C.
Clerk is DIRECTED to send a copy of this
Memorandum and Order to the Warden of Northeast Correctional
Complex, the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of
Correction, and the Attorney General for the State of
Tennessee to ensure that the custodian of Plaintiff's
inmate trust account complies with that portion of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act relating to payment of the filing fee.
The Clerk is further DIRECTED to forward a
copy of this Memorandum and Order to the Court's