United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
ROBERT D. RATLIFF, Plaintiff,
PRISONER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court has before it a pro se prisoner complaint
(Docket Entry No. 1) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an
application to proceed in forma pauperis (Docket Entry No.
plaintiff is a pre-trial detainee at the Noble Correctional
Institution in Caldwell, Ohio. It appears from the
application that the plaintiff lacks sufficient financial
resources from which to pay the fee required to file the
complaint. Accordingly, plaintiff's application is
GRANTED. The Clerk will file the complaint
in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a).
plaintiff is herewith ASSESSED the civil
filing fee of $350.00. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(1)(A) and (B), the custodian of the plaintiff's
inmate trust account at the institution where he now resides
is directed to submit to the Clerk of Court, as an initial
partial payment, whichever is greater of:
(a) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly deposits to
the plaintiff's inmate trust account;
(b) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly balance in
the plaintiff's inmate trust account for the prior six
the custodian shall submit twenty percent (20%) of the
plaintiff's preceding monthly income (or income credited
to the plaintiff's trust account for the preceding
month), but only when such monthly income exceeds ten dollars
($10.00), until the full filing fee of three hundred fifty
dollars ($350.00) as authorized under 28 U.S.C. §
1914(a) has been paid to the Clerk of Court. 28 U.S.C. §
plaintiff brings this action against the Prisoner
Transportation Services of America (PTS); John Doe #1, Chief
Executive Officer of PTS; and two John Doe employees of PTS;
October 20, 2016, a van from PTS picked the plaintiff up from
an undisclosed location in Kentucky. Docket Entry No. 1 at 5.
The plaintiff was “shackled and belly-chained” in
the van with seven other prisoners. Id. Conditions
in the van were cramped and uncomfortable. Id.
van was entering the freeway at a high rate of speed, the
driver lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a guard
rail. Id. at 6. The accident was reportedly caused
by a deer running into the path of the van. Id.
Several in the van were injured, including the plaintiff.
Id. He was extracted from the van with multiple
bruises and injuries to his knee, hand, shoulder and back.
Id. An ambulance was called to take the injured
persons to a hospital. Id.
several hours, the plaintiff was released from the hospital
and loaded into another van. Id. Cramped conditions
caused the plaintiff's injuries “to seize up and
become very sore.” Id. The van stopped at the
Franklin County, Ohio Workhouse on October 22nd
and the plaintiff was delivered to the Jail in Columbus, Ohio
the following day. Id. at 13. The plaintiff
claims that the defendants are liable for the “wanton
infliction of great pain and emotional distress” by
placing him in substantial risk of harm. Id. at
establish a claim for § 1983 relief, the plaintiff must
plead and prove that the defendants, while acting under color
of state law, deprived him of a right guaranteed by the
Constitution or laws of the United States. Parratt v.
Taylor, 101 S.Ct. 1908 (1981).
Constitution does not protect a pre-trial detainee from
unpleasant prison experiences. Ivey v. Wilson, 832
F.2d 950, 954 (6th Cir. 1987). Nor does the
Constitution mandate comfortable conditions of confinement.
Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 349 (1981). As a
consequence, it necessarily follows that a pre-trial detainee
has not been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment simply
because he has been made to feel uncomfortable during the
course of a prison transfer. See Waller v. Transcor
America, 2007 WL 3023827 at 3 (M.D. Tenn. Oct. 11,
best, the plaintiff is alleging that his injuries were the
result of negligent conduct on the part of the John Doe van
drivers. While he does assert a “wanton infliction of
great pain and emotional distress”, his narration of
the facts does not support such a claim. There are no
allegations in the complaint from which the Court could infer
that these defendants intended to cause the plaintiff any
harm. Negligent conduct, however, is not actionable under
§ 1983 because it does not rise to the level of a
constitutional deprivation. Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97 (1976). This is true with respect to negligence
claims arising under both the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments. Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319
(1986)(Eighth Amendment)(“It is obduracy and
wantonness, not inadvertence or error in good faith, that
characterize the conduct ...