United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
A. TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Crippen, an inmate of the West Tennessee State Peniteniary in
Henning, Tennessee, filed this pro se, in forma
pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
Tennessee Department of Correction, Derrick Schofield, Warden
David Sexton, Sgt. f/n/u Hill, Keith Wattters, and John Doe
“Sgt. Coordinator, ” alleging violations of the
Plaintiff's civil and constitutional rights. (Docket No.
1). The Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and compensatory
and punitive damages, as well as release from custody.
(Id. at 19-22).
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)
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
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.
complaint alleges that the Defendants violated the
Plaintiff's right to due process when he was charged with
and convicted of the disciplinary infractions of
“participating in a gang activity” and
“creating a disturbance” while incarcerated at
the Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg, Tennessee
disciplinary board composed of Defendant chairperson Sgt.
Hill and Defendant board member Keith Watters found the
Plaintiff guilty of the infractions. The complaint alleges
that, as a result of his conviction, the Plaintiff “was
wrongfully isolated in a hostile environment . . . .”
for 30 to 60 days. (Docket No. 1 at 15, 20).
administrative appeal, the decision was affirmed by both
Defendant Warden Charles and Defendant Tennessee Department
of Corrections Commissioner Schofield.
the denial of his administrative appeals, the Plaintiff filed
a lawsuit in the Chancery Court of Davidson County,
20th Judicial District, Part III, seeking review
of his conviction of the disciplinary infractions. The
Plaintiff filed a petition for common law writ of certiorari
asserting that the Defendants failed to provide him the
process outlined in their Uniform Disciplinary Procedures.
The petition also alleged that the prison ...