United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION, DISMISSING DEFENDANTS STATE OF TENNESSEE AND
24TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT, AND PERMITTING PLAINTIFF TO AMEND
COMPLAINT AS TO DEFENDANT HENRY COUNTY
DANIEL BREEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
17, 2017, Plaintiff, Jerold Sisemore, filed a pro se
complaint “seeking relief” under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the Defendants, the State of Tennessee, Henry
County, and the 24th Judicial District,  and a motion for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Docket Entry
(“D.E.”) 2; D.E. 1 at PageID 1.) That same day,
after the case was referred to United States Magistrate Judge
Edward Bryant for management and for all pretrial matters for
determination and/or report and recommendation as
appropriate, (Admin. Order 2013-05, Apr. 29, 2013), the
magistrate judge granted in forma pauperis status.
December 7, 2017, Judge Bryant issued his report,
“recommend[ing] that this Court dismiss Plaintiff's
claims against the State of Tennessee and the 24th Judicial
District in its entirety, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)[, ] and allow Plaintiff fourteen (14) days to
amend his [c]omplaint to allege municipal liability against
Henry County for the alleged claims in Plaintiff's
[c]omplaint that relate to his
imprisonment.” (D.E. 7 at PageID 21-22.) According to the
Court's docket, no objections to the report and
recommendation have been filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1), and the time for such filings has lapsed.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a).
magistrate judge reasoned that because “[o]nly persons
are liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983” and because
“a state is not a person for the purpose of the
statute, ” the state of Tennessee should “be
dismissed for failure to state a claim for which relief can
be granted . . . .” (D.E. 7 at PageID 19 (citing
Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S.
58, 70-71 (1989))); see also Johnson v. City of
Memphis, 617 F.3d 864, 871-72 (6th Cir. 2010)
(explaining that the state of Tennessee's codified
sovereign immunity extends to “claims arising under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and the United States Constitution”
(citing Hale v. Randolph, No. 1:02-CV-334, 2004 WL
1854179, at *17 (E.D. Tenn. Jan. 30, 2004))). Judge Bryant
recommended that the 24th Judicial District should also be
dismissed for the same reasons. (D.E. 7 at PageID 19 (citing
Weaver v. Tenn. Highway Patrol, No.
1:16-cv-01121-JDT-egb, 2016 WL 7634478, at *4 (W.D. Tenn.
Nov. 15, 2016), report & recommendation adopted as
modified by 2017 WL 27989 (W.D. Tenn. Jan. 3, 2017)));
see also Eldridge v. Gibson, 332 F.3d 1019, 1021-22
(6th Cir. 2003) (finding that the Thirteenth Judicial
District of Tennessee was not “a ‘person'
subject to suit under §1983” because the judicial
district “is clearly a branch of the state and as such
is protected from suit by the Eleventh Amendment”).
regard to Henry County, the report and recommendation
detailed the requirements for finding municipal liability,
including that “a plaintiff ‘must (1) identify
the municipal policy or custom, (2) connect the policy to the
municipality, and (3) show that his particular injury was
incurred due to execution of that policy.'” (D.E. 7
at PageID 20 (citing Alkire v. Irving, 330 F.3d 802,
815 (6th Cir. 2003)).) Ultimately, Judge Bryant determined
The allegations of this [c]omplaint fail to identify an
official policy or custom which caused injury to Plaintiff.
Plaintiff has not pointed to any policy or custom that caused
Henry County or the 24th Judicial District to manipulate
charges, manufacture guilt, exaggerate punishment and bonds,
strap arrestees in chairs, isolate the arrestees naked for
days, or strip them of hygiene privileges. However, due to
Plaintiff's pro se status, the Court recommends
that Plaintiff be given fourteen (14) days to amend his
[c]omplaint to state a claim for municipal liability with
respect to paragraph thirteen (13) of his [c]omplaint, as
that is the only claim that does not relate to a claim
against the State of Tennessee, the 24th Judicial District,
or his previous state court conviction.
(D.E. 7 at PageID 21; see D.E. 1.)
review of the magistrate judge's report and
recommendation, the Court ADOPTS Judge Bryant's report
and recommendation. (D.E. 7.) The state of Tennessee and the
24th Judicial District are DISMISSED as defendants, and
Plaintiff may amend his complaint within fourteen days of the
entry-date of this order to set forth municipal liability
against Henry County for the alleged claims in his complaint
that relate to his imprisonment. (See D.E. 7 at
PageID 21-22.) Should Plaintiff fail to submit such a filing,
this case may be dismissed with prejudice for failure to
prosecute pursuant to Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of
 It is unclear whether Plaintiff is
suing the 24th Judicial District as a separate defendant or
only included the judicial district in the captions of his
first two filings to describe Defendant Henry County. (D.E.
2; D.E. 1 (listing as defendants the “State of
Tennessee” on the first line and “Henry County;
in the 24th Judicial district” on the following two
lines).) In the third of his three court submissions,
Sisemore included only “The State of Tennessee; (Henry
County)” as defendants. (D.E. 6 at PageID 14.) Even
construing the 24th Judicial District as a separate
defendant, the Court would still reach the same conclusion as
set forth infra.
 Paragraph thirteen (13) of
Plaintiff's complaint alleges the following:
During the arrest process; I was unable to explain
properly about my disability issues. I was strapped in a
Hannibal Lecter chair; 8hrs [sic]. Non-combative. They were
too busy demonizing me. Next; 6 days in an isolation cell;
naked; freezing; no blanket; socks; underwear; t-shirt; and
NO hygiene privileges! I did get to ask if this was how ...