United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER DISMISSING CLAIMS CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD
NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF
APPELLATE FILING FEE
Thomas Anderson Chief United States District Judge
2, 2016, Plaintiff Anthony Wallace, who is currently
incarcerated at the Northeast Correctional Complex
(“NECX”) in Mountain City, Tennessee, filed
pro se a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
accompanied by a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. On June 6, 2016, the Court granted Wallace
leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the
civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b).
Wallace's allegations arise from his incarceration at
West Tennessee State Penitentiary (“WTSP”) in
Henning, Tennessee, making venue proper in this District. The
Clerk shall record the Defendants as Former WTSP Warden
James. M. Holloway, Assistant WTSP Warden First Name Unknown
(“FNU”) Fitts, Internal Affairs Lieutenant
(“Lt”) Thomas Shells, Internal Affairs Sergeant
(“Sgt.”) FNU Galloway, Unit Manager William
Bryant, Unit Manager M. Smith, Corporal (“Cpl.”)
FNU Bonds, Case Manager FNU Ray, Cpl. C. Jones, Cpl. A.
Doley, Sgt. N. Coleman, C/O FNU Theus, C/O FNU Radford, Sgt.
FNU Williams, Mental Health Dr. O. Robinson, Strike Force
Commander James Bobela, Lt. FNU McLin, Lt. FNU Alexander,
Captain FNU Castleman, C/O FNU Hankens, Lt. Michael Jones,
Correction Officer (“C/O”) FNU Jones, C/O FNU
Brinkly, and Inmate Cesare Payne.
alleges that on December 10, 2015, he had a
“misunderstanding” with Cpl. Bonds about waxing
the floor in Unit 3-B-Pod. (Compl. at 4 & 6.) Cpl. Bonds
called Unit Manager Bryant to deal with the situation.
(Id.) According to Wallace, Unit Manager Bryant
refused to hear his side of the story and ordered Wallace to
be on lockdown for the day. (Id. at 6.) Wallace did
not agree with the order and argued with Bryant.
(Id.) During the argument, Unit Manager Bryant told
Wallace he was going to move Wallace back to Unit 12.
(Id.) Although the Complaint is not clear on this
point, in January 2015, Wallace was housed in Unit 12 when
unknown Vice Lord inmates ambushed Wallace and stabbed him in
the back over twenty times. (Id.) Wallace alleges
that Unit Manager Bryant knew about the prior assault in Unit
was released from segregation on December 14, 2015.
(Id. at 6-7.) Wallace alleges that Cpl. Jones told
Wallace that Unit Manager Bryant intended to transfer Wallace
to Unit 12. (Id. at 6-7.) Wallace pleaded with Unit
Manager Bryant not to send him to Unit 12 and cited the large
number of Vice Lords housed in the unit. (Id. at 7.)
Unit Manager Bryant reassigned Wallace to Unit 12 anyway.
(Id. at 7.) Upon Wallace's transfer to Unit 12,
an aggressive and angry mob of Vice Lord inmates approached
Wallace and informed Wallace that he was not welcome and
should leave before they killed him. (Id.) In
self-defense, Wallace pulled out two homemade knives and
started attacking the other inmates. (Id. see also
Incident Report 01489473, ECF No. 1-1.) After about a minute,
Sgt. Coleman intervened, sprayed Wallace, and took Wallace to
medical. (Id.) The next day Wallace spoke with Sgt.
Galloway in internal affairs. (Id.) Wallace was
placed in segregation on the charge of possession of a deadly
weapon. (Id.) Wallace alleges that Sgt. Galloway
never thoroughly investigated the incident (Id. at
7-8.) According to Wallace, a Vice Lord inmate was also
locked up after the altercation because a video showed the
Vice Lord inmate holding a knife. (Id.) However,
Sgt. Williams “mysteriously' released the Vice Lord
inmate from segregation. (Id.)
Complaint goes on to allege that while Wallace was in
segregation, Cpl. Jones, Cpl. Doley, Officer Theus, Officer
Radford, and Sgt. Bryant made fun of him. (Id. at
8.) On December 18, 2015, Wallace and Defendant Theus had a
“big argument” about the night of December 14,
2015, and she proceeded to make several comments about Unit
12 including, “Yeah we used your bitch ass to keep the
unit clean, ” and “Bryant slaved your bitch ass
and then threw you to the wolves.” (Id.)
Wallace contends “at that moment” he became
paranoid, causing him to lose sleep and hear voices telling
him to kill them before they kill you. (Id.) On
January 4, 2016, Wallace spoke to Dr. Robinson about his
issues, and she told Wallace that she would get him some
January 6, 2016, Wallace got into an argument with the Vice
Lord inmates about the night of December 14, 2015.
(Id. at 8-9.) During the argument, the Vice Lord
inmates threatened Wallace. (Id. at 9.) Cpl. Jones,
Cpl. Doley, and Theus were present and heard the threats but
did nothing to intervene. (Id.) After about ten
minutes passed, Inmate Payne stepped in to diffuse the
situation. (Id.) Then on January 8, 2016, Wallace
came out of a shower, which everyone in the pod including the
Defendant correctional officers knew was broken, and
assaulted one of the Vice Lord inmates who had previously
threatened Wallace. (Id.; see also Incident
Report 01198491, ECF No. 1-2.)
contends that Defendants Sgt. Galloway and Lt. Shells never
fully investigated the incident because they left Wallace in
segregation knowing the severity of his situation with the
Vice Lord inmates. (Id. at 9-10.) Wallace alleges
that Lt. Shells wrote him up for possession of a deadly
weapon and assault on offender with a weapon in order to
justify his “very poor duties in protecting
[Wallace].” (Id. at 10, see also
Disciplinary Report, ECF No. 1-3.) Wallace also alleges that
Lt. Shells had Strike Force Commander Bobela plant a knife in
Wallace's cell. (Id.; see also Incident
Report 0119608, ECF No. 1-4.) Wallace was told by Cpl. Jones
that Lt. Shells ordered Sgt. Williams to hear the charges
against Wallace because Wallace had threatened Lt. Shells
with a lawsuit.
February 5, 2016, Wallace gave an emergency grievance to Lt.
McLin concerning Lt. Shells and Sgt. Williams; however, he
never received any disposition documents. (Id.) The
same day Wallace spoke with Dr. Robinson about the voices in
his head and the situation with the staff. (Id.)
Wallace also spoke with Warden Holloway, Lt. Alexander, and
Asst. Warden Fitts about the staff and disciplinary board,
but they did not take any action. (Id. at 11.).
Capt. Castleman, upon hearing about Wallace's issues,
brought Dr. Robinson to talk to Wallace. (Id. at
11.) Wallace alleges that he begged Capt. Castleman and Dr.
Robinson to have him moved from Unit 3 to medical because he
did not feel safe around the staff. (Id.) Because
Wallace believed Capt. Castleman was taking a long time to
make the move and because Wallace continued to hear voices in
his head, Wallace frequently asked Officer Hankens to call
Defendant Castleman. (Id. at 12.)
confusing series of events, the Complaint alleges that
Wallace told an officer he wanted to take a shower, but when
he saw Sgt. Bryant, he began to hear voices telling him to
kill Bryant before Bryant killed him. (Id.) Wallace
asked to see Dr. Robinson and walked around the pod waiting
for her to arrive. (Id.) Wallace alleges that when
he saw Sgt. Bryant coming, the next thing he knew Sgt. Bryant
slammed Wallace's face into a staircase, and Wallace was
face down on the staircase, wearing handcuffs. (Id.;
see also Incident Report 01197028, ECF No. 1-5.) Lt.
Jones, Officer Jones, Brinkly and a tack-team officer took
Wallace to medical where he was kept on a “security
hold.” (Id.) Sgt. Bryant wrote Wallace up for
defiance. (Id. at 13.) On April 28, 2016, Wallace
was transferred. (Id.) Wallace alleges that
Defendants have conspired with one another. (Id. at
14.) Wallace seeks punitive and compensatory damages.
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to
dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; or
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. §
assessing whether the Complaint in this case states a claim
on which relief may be granted, the Court applies the
pleading standards under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), announced in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 677-79 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007). Hill v.
Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010).
“Accepting 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 (quoting Martin v.
Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)).
Nevertheless, pro se litigants and prisoners 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, 612-13 (6th Cir. 2011) (affirming dismissal of
pro se complaint for failure to comply with
“unique pleading requirements” and stating
“a court cannot ‘create a claim which [a
plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading'”)
(quotation omitted); 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
filed his Complaint on the official form for actions under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 provides:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial
officer for an act or omission taken in such officer's
judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted
unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory
relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any
Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of
Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege two elements: (1) a deprivation of rights secured by
the “Constitution and laws” of the United States
(2) committed by a defendant acting under color of state ...