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Hawkins v. Metropolitan Government Nashville

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

November 22, 2017

PAUL L. HAWKINS, No. 366212, Plaintiff,


          Aleta A. Trauger United States District Judge

         Paul L. Hawkins, an inmate of the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility in Nashville, Tennessee, filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Metropolitan Government Nashville/Davidson County, Tennessee, Justin Chisolm, Warden Todd Thomas, and Dr. f/n/u Bridges, alleging violations of the Plaintiff's civil and constitutional rights. (Docket No. 1). As relief, the Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and damages. (Id. at 6). The plaintiff supplemented his complaint on August 15, 2017 (Docket No. 4) and on September 20, 2017 (Docket No. 6).

         The Plaintiff's complaint as amended 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

         Plaintiff brings his complaint 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

         The complaint alleges that, on August 26, 2015, a Nashville police officer entered the plaintiff's home without a warrant and without the consent of the plaintiff and arrested the plaintiff. On August 31, 2015, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville/Davidson County, Tennessee transferred the plaintiff to the custody of Core Civic. The plaintiff believes that this transfer was illegal.

         In March of 2016, the plaintiff developed severe itching. The plaintiff sought and received antibiotic treatment for the itching by a member of the Core Civic medical staff. However, the itching did not improve, and the plaintiff sought additional medical treatment. The staff physician gave the plaintiff a lotion and Benadryl and, when the plaintiff's symptoms still did not improve, the staff physician gave the plaintiff a steroid pill. According to the complaint, the staff physician had never examined the Plaintiff up to this point. The plaintiff's itching continued, and the staff physician performed a lab test of the plaintiff's blood. After receiving the lab results, the staff physician discontinued treatment of the plaintiff, although the Plaintiff's itching intensified. The complaint alleges that, at this time, the Plaintiff “feared that his life was about to come to an end.” (Docket No. 1 at p. 17). Later, the staff physician prescribed the lotion and Benadryl again to the plaintiff.

         The plaintiff was told by the sick call nurse and the staff physician that the plaintiff did not have scabies or bed bugs; a nurse told the plaintiff that he was suffering from some type of allergic reaction. When the plaintiff was examined again, the staff physician prescribed the plaintiff hydroxyzine, an antihistamine, and an anti-anxiety pill. The plaintiff filed a grievance concerning his medical treatment, and Warden Todd Thomas determined that the plaintiff had been given proper medical treatment. In the meantime, the plaintiff procured treatment for scabies on “the inmate black market” and his itching resolved.

         On March 13, 2017, the plaintiff wrote a letter to the Tennessee Board of Parole stating that he was being illegally housed at Core Civic's Metro-Davidson Detention Facility. He subsequently wrote to the Tennessee Department of Correction, voicing the same concern, and initiated institutional ...

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