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Scott v. Washington County Detention Center

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville

November 30, 2017

DARREN T. SCOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
WASHINGTON COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HARRY S. MATTICE, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's pro se complaint for violation of civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. 2], and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1]. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's request to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1] will be GRANTED and Plaintiff will be granted leave to file an amended complaint.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, currently an inmate at the Hawkins County Jail, filed the instant action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Washington County Detention Center (“WCDC”) [Doc. 2 p. 1]. Plaintiff's claims result from his previous confinement at WCDC [Id. at 2].

         While an inmate at WCDC, Plaintiff's hand was broken and fractured when he was attacked by another inmate [Id. at 3]. Plaintiff claims that the doctors at WCDC took x-rays of his hand, but failed to take further action [Id. at 4]. Then, Plaintiff states he was in another altercation in October 2016, where he reinjured his left hand, specifically his pinky finger [Id.]. At this time, Plaintiff alleges that his pinky finger was reset and he was told that he would need to see an orthopedic surgeon [Id.]. However, he was never able to see the orthopedic surgeon, as the nurses at WCDC told him for over two months that he was still on the list for an appointment but they were unable to tell him the date of his appointment due to security reasons [Id.]. Then, on December 12, 2016, Plaintiff was transferred to the Unicoi County Jail, and still has been unable to see an orthopedic surgeon regarding his hand [Id.]. Plaintiff claims that as a result of the delay in surgery, he has lost mobility and function in his left hand, as well as suffered increased pain [Id.]. He requests the Court to order his “hand [to be] fixed, ” all medical bills paid for, discipline against WCDC, and payment for his pain, suffering and mental anguish [Id. at 5].

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis

         Under 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 his inmate trust account for the previous six-month period. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2). Plaintiff has failed to submit a fully compliant application to proceed in forma pauperis, as his application submitted on August 31, 2017 [Doc. 1] does not include a certified copy of his inmate trust account. However, Plaintiff claims that the jail has refused to notarize a copy of his trust account, and attaches a copy of his account balance over the past six months [Docs. 1-1, 1-2]. Therefore, it appears from that application that he lacks sufficient financial resources to pay the $350.00 filing fee. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1] 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.

         Because Plaintiff is incarcerated at the Hawkins County Jail, he 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 he now resides is directed to submit to the Clerk, U.S. District Court, 220 West Depot Street, Suite 200, Greeneville, Tennessee 37743, 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. § 1915(b)(2).

         The Clerk is DIRECTED to send a copy of this Memorandum to the Hawkins County Jail 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.

         B. Screening Standard

         Under 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).

         To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the plaintiff must establish that he was 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, the plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show: (1) the deprivation of a right, privilege, or immunity secured to him 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).

         C. ...


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