United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court is in receipt of a pro se prisoner complaint
(Docket Entry No. 1) brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, an application to proceed in forma pauperis (Docket
Entry No. 2), a motion (Docket Entry No. 3) for the
appointment of counsel, a motion (Docket Entry No. 8) for an
emergency injunction, a motion (Docket Entry No. 9) for a
fast and speedy ruling on the application to proceed in forma
pauperis, and a motion (Docket Entry No. 10) to review an
earlier order assigning plaintiff's cases to a particular
plaintiff is an inmate at the Riverbend Maximum Security
Institution in Nashville. It appears from his application
that he lacks sufficient financial resources from which to
pay the fee required to file the complaint. Accordingly, the
plaintiff's application is GRANTED. The
Clerk shall file the complaint in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C.
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 twenty (20) defendants.
These defendants include twelve members of the Riverbend
staff (Carolyn Jones, Brandi McClure, Michael Sargunis,
Ernest Lewis, Celina Taylor, James Horton, Robert Mosley,
Robert Bates, Mark Collins, Andrew Brown, Bruce Westbrooks
and Frank Heroux) and eight employees of the Tennessee
Department of Correction (Tony Parker, Donna Turner, Mandy
Ellis, Tom Joplin, Rossi Jackson, Ramon Sherrell, Nathan
Miller and Samuel Roberts).
to the complaint, the plaintiff is “filing this against
various TDOC prison officials for allowing me to repeatedly
be victimized and raped by Riverbend Warden Bruce
Westbrooks.” Docket Entry No. 1 at 4. The plaintiff
claims that he was made to perform oral sex on the Warden on
nine separate occasions while the Warden anally raped him
three times. Id.
plaintiff has attempted to file grievances to complain about
the sexual abuse he is suffering but the Grievance
Chairperson, Brandi McClure, allegedly refuses to process the
grievances. Id. The plaintiff also insists that he
has repeatedly written to Ellis, Brown, Roberts, Sherrell,
Jackson, Miller, Turner and Parker about the sexual abuse
“to no avail.” Id. at 5. Defendants
Joplin and Jordan have been made aware of the situation but
they refuse to follow appropriate procedures mandated by the
Prison Rape Elimination Act. Id.
on a visit to the prison in July, 2017, the plaintiff alleges
that he informed defendants Parker, Bates, Heroux, Ellis,
Turner, Collins, Joplin, Lewis, Roberts, Brown and Sargunis
about what had been happening to him. Id. These
defendants not only ignored the plaintiffs' pleas for
help, but they “retaliated against me by directing Cpl.
Taylor, Michael Sargunis and Mark Collins to come to my cell
and remove all my pen and paper, legal material and denied me
access to it.” Id. at 6. Taylor and Sargunis
then “brutally beat me”, resulting in two black
eyes, a “busted” eye socket, a broken nose and a
broken collarbone.” Id.
attack was reported to Mosley, Horton and Heroux who refused
to take any action against plaintiff's assailants or get
him medical care. Id. The plaintiff describes a five
day period during which he was not allowed out of his cell,
had no access to running water, was “butt-naked”
and was only fed once. Id.
plaintiff specifically alleges that has been sexually
assaulted by Warden Westbrooks and physically assaulted by
Celina Taylor and Michael Sargunis. Such assaults by prison
personnel are actionable under § 1983. Freitas v.
Ault, 109 F.3d 1335, 1338 (8th Cir. 1997).
Therefore, the plaintiff has stated a colorable claim for
relief against these defendants.
plaintiff claims that the remaining defendants were aware of
the sexual abuse but took no action to prevent it. It is well
settled that the plaintiff must allege the personal
involvement of a defendant in the alleged misconduct to state
a claim under § 1983. Taylor v. Michigan Dept. of
Corrections, 69 F.3d 76, 81 (6th Cir. 1995)
(the plaintiff must allege facts showing that the defendant
participated in, condoned, encouraged, or knowingly
acquiesced in the alleged misconduct). A showing of
“direct responsibility” for the misconduct is a
prerequisite for liability. The mere failure to ...