United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
A. Trauger United States District Judge.
Alan Thigpen, a resident of Hartsville, Tennessee, brings
this pro se, in forma pauperis action against
forty-four (44) named defendants, citing 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Docket No. 1).
Required Screening of In Forma Pauperis
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 in this case 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 F. App'x 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 F.
App'x 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 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. 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
Section 1983 Standard
plaintiff brings his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 “and other applicable United States Code”
provisions. (Docket No. 1 at 2). 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.
to the complaint, on June 6, 2016, defendant Thomas Dewayne
Byrd, tax assessor for Trousdale County, assaulted the
plaintiff at a Trousdale County Board of Equalization
meeting. The plaintiff was injured and received medical care
for his injuries. The plaintiff's tripod and camera were
damaged during the assault. The plaintiff subsequently was
indicted by a grand jury in connection with the incident.
(Docket No. 1 at p. 6). The plaintiff believes that his
federal constitutional right to due process was violated
because members of the grand jury represented themselves to
be residents of Trousdale County, Tennessee, “despite
proof to the contrary known to exist by some of the prior
named Accused.” (Id. at p. 5).
complaint alleges that many of the defendants are engaged in
“ongoing criminal conduct . . . .” (Docket No. 1
at p. 5). The complaint describes the criminal conduct as
The Criminal acts have taken place in Trousdale County
Tennessee, the smallest county in the State, which the de
facto cartel, known as Hartsville/Trousdale County
Government, in charge circumvented Tennessee's
Legislative desires to divide for its absorption by two
larger adjacent counties, Sumner and Wilson, by
incorporation, via Voter Fraud, an “experimental”
Charter form of Metro Government.
This scheme had the affect [sic] of chilling prior
Legislative desires due to the resulting entanglements of
Municipal Bonds and many other financial instruments, the
cost of doing so ...