United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
DAVID GARDNER, et al., No. 00094231, Plaintiff,
DENT MORRISS, et al., Defendants.
A. Trauger United States District Judge
an inmate of the Whiteville Correctional Facility in
Whiteville, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in forma
pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Dent
Morriss, Mike Jones, Glenn Funk, John Wesley, Whitley Ray,
Judge Gay, Phyllis Morriss, Goodlett Collier, John Gasaway,
and Gregory Smith, alleging violations of the Plaintiff's
federal civil rights. (Doc. No. 1).
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. The Plaintiff also
filed a “motion to amend and add defendants.”
(Doc. No. 3).
Motion to Amend
15(a) (2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that
leave to amend should be freely given “when justice so
requires.” In deciding whether to grant a motion to
amend, courts should consider undue delay in filing, lack of
notice to the opposing party, bad faith by the moving party,
repeated failure to cure deficiencies by previous amendments,
undue prejudice to the opposing party, and futility of
amendment. Brumbalough v. Camelot Care Ctrs., Inc.,
427 F.3d 996, 1001 (6th Cir. 2005). “Amendment of a
complaint is futile when the proposed amendment would not
permit the complaint to survive a motion to dismiss.”
Miller v. Calhoun Cnty., 408 F.3d 803, 817 (6th
Cir.2005) (citing Neighborhood Dev. Corp. v. Advisory
Council on Historic Pres., 632 F.2d 21, 23 (6th
there appears to be no undue prejudice to the opposing
parties by permitting the Plaintiff to amend his complaint at
this time, the “motion to amend and add
defendants” (Doc. No. 3) does not explain why the
Plaintiff wishes to add the two named individuals as
Defendants. The Plaintiff fails to allege any specific
personal involvement of either Jason White or John Germanis
in the events described in the complaint. A plaintiff must
identify the right or privilege that was violated and the
role of the defendant in the alleged violation, Dunn v.
Tennessee, 697 F.2d 121, 128 (6th Cir. 1982),
and the Plaintiff here has failed to do so with regard to
these two proposed Defendants. The Court therefore will deny
the motion to amend as futile.
PLRA Screening Standard
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).
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)).
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).
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.
complaint alleges that Defendant Morriss “and other
defendants . . . intentionally, maliciously, wrongfully, and
illegally” had the Plaintiff incarcerated “out of
revenge.” (Doc. No. 1 at 5). According to the
complaint, the Plaintiff was prosecuted by Defendant Morriss
who, the Plaintiff later found out, was engaged at the time
to the victim of the Plaintiff's alleged crimes,
Defendant Phyllis Morriss. The complaint alleges that
Defendant Morriss conspired with his now wife, Defendant P.
Morriss, “to maliciously prosecute and violate Mr.
Gardner's constitutional rights to freedom and cause Mr.
Gardner's incarceration and deprived him of his Federal
guaranteed rights.” (Id. at 8). Further, ...