United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
BURNACE R. MCDONALD, JR., Plaintiff,
HICKMAN COUNTY JAIL, Defendants.
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
McDonald, Jr., a resident of Columbia, Tennessee, and former
inmate of the Hickman County Jail in Centerville, Tennessee,
brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Hickman County Jail,
Southern Health Partners, and Lori Fuller, alleging
violations of the Plaintiff's federal civil and
constitutional rights. (Doc. No. 1). As relief, the Plaintiff
seeks reimbursement for medical costs he has incurred,
damages for pain and suffering, and injunctive relief.
(Id. at 6).
complaint is before the Court for an initial review pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) because the Plaintiff filed
his complaint in forma pauperis.
Required Screening of In Forma Pauperis Complaint
Because the Plaintiff is proceeding as a pauper in this
action, the Court must conduct an initial review of the
complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and dismiss it or
any portion of it that is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim for which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. In assessing whether the complaint states a claim on
which relief may be granted, the Court applies the standards
under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
as construed by Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678-79 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007). See Hill v. Lappin, 630
F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding that “the
dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and
Twombly governs dismissals for failure to state a
claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)] because the relevant
statutory language tracks the language in Rule
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.”).
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 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). Pro
se litigants, however, 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 Fed.Appx. 608, 613
(6th Cir. 2011) (“[A] court cannot create a claim which
[a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading”)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted); Payne v.
Sec'y of Treas., 73 Fed.Appx. 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 Fed.Appx. 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. Not only would that duty be overly burdensome, it
would transform the courts from neutral arbiters of disputes
into advocates for a particular party. While courts are
properly charged with protecting the rights of all who come
before it, that responsibility does not encompass advising
litigants as to what legal theories they should
Section 1983 Standard
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.
to the complaint, the Plaintiff is a United States veteran
receiving full disability benefits. He has been incarcerated
at the Hickman County Jail on and off since 2014. During his
periods of incarceration, Defendants have refused to provide
the Plaintiff with his prescribed medications for depression
and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In 2014, the
Plaintiff's attorney went before a Hickman County judge
who ordered the jail to provide the Plaintiff with his
medications. However, the complaint alleges that, during his
most recent period of incarceration, the medications were not
provided to the Plaintiff and at times he was placed in
isolation as punishment for requesting his medications.
September 2015, Defendant Nurse Fuller told the Plaintiff
that he did not need his medications. She ordered him to take
a blood test and then told him that the results of the test
proved he did not have a mental illness. When the jail would
not provide the medications the Plaintiff had been prescribed
by outside physicians, the Plaintiff ordered the medications
and paid for them himself, but the jail would not dispense
them. The complaint alleges that the Plaintiff's mental
health deteriorated and the Plaintiff “has suffered
greatly” as a result of not receiving his medication.
In his complaint, the Plaintiff states: “I have waited
this long to file suite [sic] because I'm soon to be
released and feared the isolation lockdown for 23 hrs a
day.” (Doc. No. 1 at 5, 7-8). The Plaintiff
subsequently was released from the Hickman County Jail. (Doc.
the Plaintiff's complaint names as a Defendant the
Hickman County Jail. However, the Hickman County Jail, like
any other jail or workhouse, is not a “person”
that can be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Cf. Fuller
v. Cocran, No. 1:05-CV-76, 2005 WL 1802415, at *3 (E.D.
Tenn. July 27, 2005) (dismissing § 1983 claims against
the Bradley County Justice Center on the same basis);
Seals v. Grainger County Jail, No. 3:04CV606, 2005
WL 1076326, at *1 (E.D. Tenn. May 6, 2005) (“The
Grainger County Jail, however, is not a suable entity within
the meaning of § 1983.”). Thus, the ...