United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff's pro se complaint for
violation of civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
[Doc. 1], motion for leave to proceed in forma
pauperis [Doc. 2], and motion to appoint counsel [Doc.
3]. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's request
to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 3] will be
GRANTED. However, Plaintiff's motion to
appoint counsel [Doc. 3] will be DENIED and
her complaint [Doc. 1] will be DISMISSED
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), any
prisoner who files a complaint in a district court must
tender the full filing fee or file (1) an application to
proceed in forma pauperis without prepayment of fees
and (2) a certified copy of their inmate trust account for
the previous six-month period. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2).
Plaintiff submitted a fully compliant application to proceed
in forma pauperis on August 10, 2017 [Doc. 2], and
it appears from the application that Plaintiff lacks
sufficient financial resources to pay the $350.00 filing fee.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed
in forma pauperis [Doc. 2] is
GRANTED and, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915, the Clerk is DIRECTED to file this
action without the prepayment of costs or fees or security
therefor as of the date the Complaint was received.
Plaintiff is currently confined at the Tennessee Prison for
Women, she is herewith ASSESSED the civil
filing fee of $350.00. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(b)(2), the custodian of Plaintiff's inmate trust
account at the institution where she now resides is directed
to submit to the Clerk, U.S. District Court, 800 Market
Street, Suite 130, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902, 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. 28 U.S.C. §
Clerk is DIRECTED to send a copy of this
Memorandum to the Tennessee Prison for Women to ensure that
the custodian of Plaintiff's trust account complies with
that portion of the Prison Litigation Reform Act relating to
payment of the filing fee. The Clerk is
DIRECTED to forward a copy of this
Memorandum to the Court's financial deputy.
currently in custody at the Tennessee Prison for Women, filed
this complaint on August 10, 2017, against Defendants
Michelle Bernadette and the Union County Jail [Doc. 1 p. 1].
Plaintiff brings this complaint after alleged constitutional
violations from her previous confinement at the Union County
Jail. Plaintiff alleges that on March 16, 2017, Defendant
Bernadette and other correctional officers at the Union
County Jail filmed inmates having a “lynching party,
” where the inmates wrapped a fellow inmate up in a
blanket, while wearing white sheets, and pretended to tie a
noose around the blanket and hang the inmate [Id. at
5]. Then, Plaintiff claims that on April 29, 2017, Defendant
Bernadette showed her the video while singing a “racial
song” [Id.]. Although Plaintiff wrote
grievances and requested to be moved, a Union County Jail
official, Heather Ragon, told Plaintiff that if she
“said anything else about the drama that was going on[,
] she would tell Jessie Ellis to take my behavior and program
sentence credits” [Id.]. Plaintiff requests
for the officers and administration at the Union County Jail
“to be fully trained in the prevention and reporting of
discrimination due to race, ” restitution for her pain
and suffering, and “[t]o be awarded all sentence
reduction credits including two-for-one credits” for
her time served [Id.].
the PLRA, district courts must screen prisoner complaints and
sua sponte dismiss those that are frivolous or
malicious, fail to state a claim for relief or are against a
defendant who is immune. See Benson v. O'Brian,
179 F.3d 1014, 1015-16 (6th Cir. 1999) (“Congress
directed the federal courts to review or ‘screen'
certain complaints sua sponte and to dismiss those
that failed to state a claim upon which relief could be
granted [or] . . . sought monetary relief from a defendant
immune from such relief.”). The dismissal standard
articulated by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and in Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554 (2007) “governs
dismissals for failure state a claim under [28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A] 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 an initial review
under the PLRA, 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). However, “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, 561
F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v.
Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
establish that they were deprived of a federal right by a
person acting under color of state law. Black v.
Barberton Citizens Hospital, 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th
Cir. 1998); O'Brien v. City of Grand Rapids, 23
F.3d 990, 995 (6th Cir. 1994); Russo v. City of
Cincinnati, 953 F.2d 1036, 1042 (6th Cir. 1992); see
also Braley v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th
Cir. 1990) ("Section 1983 does not itself create any
constitutional rights; it creates a right of action for the
vindication of constitutional guarantees found
elsewhere."). In other words, Plaintiff must plead facts
sufficient to show: (1) the deprivation of a right,
privilege, or immunity secured to her by the United States
Constitution or other federal law; and (2) that the
individual responsible for such deprivation was acting under
color of state law. Gregory v. Shelby Cty., 220 F.3d
433, 441 (6th Cir. 2000).