United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR., CHIEF UNITED STATES
Cole, an inmate of the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center
in Hartsville, Tennessee, filed this pro se, in
forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Warden f/n/u Washburn, Chief Johana Veal, f/n/u
Lopez, Sergeant f/n/u Older, Sergeant f/n/u Douglas,
Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, “Core Civics of
America, ” Tennessee Department of Corrections,
Trousdale Turner County, City of Hartsville, and the State of
Tennessee, alleging violations of the Plaintiff's civil
rights. (Doc. No. 1). As relief, the Plaintiff seeks
injunctive relief, a declaratory judgment, compensatory
damages, punitive damages, and nominal damages. (Id.
complaint 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.
PLRA Screening Standard
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).
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)).
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).
Section 1983 Standard
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.
complaint alleges that, on June 29, 2017, while an inmate of
the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center, Defendant Veal
instructed Defendants Lopez, Douglas, and Older to place the
Plaintiff in segregation. These Defendants placed the
Plaintiff in a segregation cell with an inmate who told the
officers “not to put anyone in the cell with him or he
would stab them.” (Doc. No. 1 at 7). Upon hearing this
statement, the Plaintiff asked to be placed in a different
cell, but the Defendants Lopez, Douglas, and Older ignored
him. While inside the cell, the inmate “swung a
knife” at the Plaintiff's face and the Plaintiff
blocked the knife with his arm, sustaining a cut to his arm.
(Id.) The Plaintiff called for help, and Defendants
Davis and Lovine responded. After a thirty minute delay, the
Plaintiff received medical attention, his arm was
photographed for documentation, and he was escorted by Lovine
to the showers where the Plaintiff sat from 11:25 a.m. to
4:30 p.m. on “dirty and wet shower floors.”
(Id. at 8). The Plaintiff filed a grievance
regarding the incident.
Section 1983 official capacity claims for monetary
Plaintiff's § 1983 claims for monetary damages
against any individual Defendant in his or her official
capacity are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. See Will
v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 ...