United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER DISMISSING CLAIMS, CERTIFYING APPEAL WOULD NOT
BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH, AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF APPELLATE
THOMAS ANDERSON CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
13, 2016, Plaintiff Travis Williams, an inmate at the West
Tennessee State Penitentiary (“WTSP”) in Henning,
Tennessee, filed pro se a Complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, accompanied by a motion to proceed in
forma pauperis. On June 14, 2016, the Court granted
Williams leave to proceed in forma pauperis and
assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison
Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b).
The Clerk shall record the defendants as Cpl. Ashley Doyle,
Cpl. C. Jones, WTSP Officer First Name Unknown
(“FNU”) Theus, Former WTSP Warden James Holloway,
WTSP Assistant Warden FNU Fitz, WTSP Unit Manager William
Bryant, WTSP Chief of Security Jeffrey Middleton, Former
Tennessee Department of Correction (“TDOC) Commissioner
Derrick Schofield, WTSP Lieutenant Thomas Shell, and Acting
Grievance Chairperson Sue Ann Brewer.
alleges that on January 8, 2016, he was housed in
administrative segregation in unit 3-A-35 at WTSP. (Compl. at
2.) During shower call Defendants Doyle, Jones, and Theus
were escorting inmates to and from the showers in handcuffs
per TDOC Policy. (Id.) Defendant Doyle handcuffed
Williams's cell mate and escorted him to the shower, and
then Defendant Jones and Theus handcuffed Williams.
(Id. at 2-3, see also Grievance #
2016-83/T-298854, ECF No 1-1.) Williams asked if he was being
escorted to the showers. Defendant Jones and Theus told him
to go ahead to the showers unescorted. (Id. at 3.).
Williams contends that as he approached the showers,
Defendant Doyle pointed him towards a particular shower. As
Williams approached the shower, an inmate who was not
handcuffed came out of the shower with an “icepick
type” of weapon. (Id.)
started running to get to safety, but the inmate caught up
with him and started stabbing him repeatedly while Williams
was “screaming for his life.” Id.)
Williams alleges that Defendants Jones, Doyle, and Theus
stood by the shower and did nothing to assist Williams,
including not using mace, which they are required to carry at
all times. (Id.) Williams further contends that
Defendants did not immediately call a code for other officers
and staff members to come to his rescue, and the inmate did
not stop stabbing him until he heard other officers coming
through the door. (Id. at 4.) At this time,
Defendants Jones, Doyle and Theus decided to run towards
Williams, “pretending they (were) trying to assist
alleges that Defendants Holloway, Fitz, Bryant, Middleton,
and Schofield failed to make sure staff members followed
policy and procedure to make sure that every inmate is
searched for contraband before being escorted to the shower.
(Id. at 4 & 5.) Williams contends that Defendant
Shell did not investigate or charge the other inmate with
assault as “policy requires of any act of violence
against any inmates.” (Id.) Williams alleges
that Defendant Brewer waited until Williams was transferred
to another facility to conduct a hearing on his grievance
preventing Williams from confronting Defendants. William
seeks compensatory and punitive damages against Defendants
jointly and severally. (Id. at 7-8.)
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to
dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 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)). 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'”); 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
filed his Complaint on the official form for actions under 42