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Lattimore v. Davidson County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

September 26, 2017

RICKY LAMAR LATTIMORE, # 115054 Plaintiff,
v.
DAVIDSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Ricky Lamar Lattimore, an inmate of the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility in Nashville, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Davidson County Sheriff's Department, the State of Tennessee, and “Core Civics MDCDF CCA, ” alleging violations of his federal civil and constitutional rights and state law claims of slander and defamation. (Doc. No. 1). As relief, the Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. (Id. at 6). The Plaintiff does not ask for release from custody. (Id.)

         The 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.

         I. PLRA Screening Standard

         Under 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).

         The 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)).

         Although 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).

         II. Section 1983 Standard

         The Plaintiff 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.

         III. Alleged Facts

         Plaintiff alleges that he has been incarcerated since August 20, 2015. He entered a plea of guilty in state court to solicitation on July 6, 2017, and was sentenced to time served. He was transferred from the custody of the Davidson County Sheriff's Office to the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility on July 14, 2017. He believes that he is being wrongfully imprisoned beyond the expiration of his sentence. (Doc. No. 1 at 5).

         IV. Analysis

         With respect to the Plaintiff's allegation that he is being held at the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility beyond his release date, the Plaintiff states a claim for violation of his constitutional rights. See Shorts v. Bartholomew, 255 F. App'x 46, 52 (6th Cir. 2007) (“[T]hat the right at issue is secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, is beyond dispute: when a prisoner's sentence has expired, he is entitled to release.”) (citing Whirl v. Kern, 407 F.2d 781, 791 (5th Cir. 1969) (holding that “[t]here is no privilege in a jailer to keep a prisoner in jail beyond the period of his lawful sentence”)); id. (“[A]n incarcerated inmate has a liberty interest in being released at the end of his term of imprisonment.' (quoting Schultz v. Egan, 103 F. App'x 437, 440 (2d Cir. 2004)).

         The Plaintiff sues the Davidson County Sheriff's Office, the State of Tennessee, and the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility for violating his Constitutional right to be released upon the expiration of his sentence. The Davidson County Sheriff's Office, however, is not an entity that may be sued under § 1983. Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994); see also Mathes v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., No. 3:10-cv-0496, 2010 WL 3341889, at **2-3 (M.D. Tenn. Aug. 25, 2010) (noting that “since Matthews, federal district courts in Tennessee have frequently and uniformly held that police departments and sheriff's departments are not proper parties to a § 1983 suit” under Tennessee law, and therefore granting the motion to dismiss the § 1983 claim against the ...


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