United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
Honorable Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr., Chief District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BARBARA D. HOLMES United States Magistrate Judge
Order entered December 6, 2016 (Docket Entry No. 8), this
pro se prisoner civil rights action was referred to
the Magistrate Judge for pretrial proceedings under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 636(b)(1)(A) and (B), Rule 72(b) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Local Rules of Court.
before the Court are a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant
Robert Turman (Docket Entry No. 88) and a motion for summary
judgment filed by Defendants Cherry Lindamood, Brandon
Bowers, Rhonda Staggs, Doreen Trafton, Brenda Pevahouse, Eric
Bryant, Sean Brantley, Robert Wesson, Hank Inman, Christopher
Martinez, and Jesse James (Docket Entry No. 91). Plaintiff
has responded in opposition to both motions. For the reasons
set out below, the undersigned Magistrate Judge respectfully
recommends that the motions be granted and this action be
Bonds (“Plaintiff') is an inmate of the Tennessee
Department of Correction (“TDOC”) currently
confined at the Northwest Correctional Complex in
Tiptonville, Tennessee. He filed this lawsuit pro se
and in forma pauperis on October 13, 2016, against
several prison officials seeking relief under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against them in their individual and official
capacities. Plaintiff alleges that his constitutional rights
were violated during his prior confinement at the South
Central Correctional Facility (“SCCF”) in
Clifton, Tennessee. Specifically, his lawsuit centers around
events that occurred over the span of approximately seven
days in May 2016 when he was held in administrative
segregation at the SCCF.
afternoon of Tuesday, May 10, 2016, Plaintiff was placed in
administrative segregation pending investigation based on a
report issued that day by Hank Inman (“Inman”),
the SCCF Security Threat Group Coordinator. Inman suspected
Plaintiff of being involved in security threat group
activity. In accordance with TDOC policy, Plaintiff was held
in segregation for seven days until the evening of Tuesday,
May 17, 2016, when he was released back to the general
population. Although Plaintiff was released from
administrative segregation, he was charged by Inman with the
disciplinary offense of participation in security threat
group activity. However, the charge was dismissed prior to a
alleges that his constitutional rights were violated in
several ways during his stay in administrative segregation.
First, he asserts that the living conditions were so bad that
they amounted to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of
the Eighth Amendment. See Complaint (Docket Entry
No. 1), at 8-9, ¶ D. He alleges that his cell had no
emergency call button, was filthy and reeked of the smell of
urine and body wastes from the prior occupants, and that the
toilet in the cell had a ring of feces in it. Id. He
asserts that he had difficulty obtaining toilet tissue, that
it took five days for him to obtain cleaning supplies, and
that he did not have his bed linens, shower shoes, reading
materials, religious items, blood pressure medications, and
legal papers for two days because of delays in obtaining
personal property from his prior housing unit. Id. at
8-9, ¶¶ D and G. He further contends that a policy
directive from Assistant Warden Eric Bryant
(“Bryant”) requires that the shoes of inmates
entering administrative segregation be confiscated, forcing
him to walk around in his socks for two days until his shower
shoes were given to him. Id. at 9, ¶ C. He
asserts that he was not permitted to take a shower or have
outside recreation during his seven day stay in
administrative segregation and that the lights in the
segregation pods are on 24 hours a day. Id. at
¶ J. Plaintiff implicates TDOC official Robert Turman
(“Turman”) and SCCF officers Doreen Trafton
(“Trafton”), Ronda Staggs (“Staggs”),
Brandon Bowers (“Bowers”), Jessie James
(“James”), Christopher Martinez
(“Martinez”), David Moore (“Moore”),
Robert Wesson (“Wesson”), and Sean Brantly
(“Brantley) in these events. Plaintiff further alleges
that he was not placed in a cell that had a toilet when he
initially entered the administrative segregation unit and
that he had to urinate in a cup in the cell and on the cell
floor because Moore, Wesson, and Martinez ignored his request
to use the restroom. Id. at 9, ¶ I.
also alleges that his First Amendment and Due Process rights
were violated. He asserts that he is a Muslim and that his
right to practice his religion was infringed upon because,
despite his complaints to Trafton and Brantley, he had to
wait two days to receive his Qur'an after he was
transferred to administrative segregation. Id. at 9,
¶ F. Plaintiff asserts that he was denied due process by
Inman and SCCF Disciplinary Board Chairperson Brenda
Pevahouse (“Pevahouse”) because his placement in
administrative segregation at the direction of Inman was
undeserved and because his request for a disciplinary hearing
was not granted by Pevahouse. Id. at 9, ¶¶
A and B. Plaintiff alleges that his right to be free from
retaliation was violated by Trafton and Bowers because
Trafton ignored his requests for a grievance form and Bowers
cursed at him and threatened to not feed him lunch if he
continued to ask Bowers about the whereabouts of a grievance
form. Id. at 9, ¶ E. Finally, Plaintiff alleges
that he wrote to Warden Cherry Lindamood
(“Lindamood”) about his placement in
administrative segregation and about the conditions in the
unit but that she failed to respond to his letter.
Id. at 6, ¶ 1.
the Court's initial review of the lawsuit pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A,  Defendants Turman
and Defendants Lindamood, Bowers, Staggs, Trafton, Pevahouse,
Bryant, Brantley, Wesson, Inman, Martinez, and James
(“SCCF Defendants”) were served with
process and pretrial proceedings have occurred
pursuant to a scheduling order. See Docket Entry No.
48. In addition to the two pending dispositive motions filed
by Defendants, Plaintiff has filed a motion to amend his
complaint, seeking to add additional claims and add
defendants in place of “John Doe” defendants that
were named in his original complaint. See Docket
Entry No. 94. The merits of the motion to amend are addressed
in this Report and Recommendation.
DEFENDANT TURMAN'S MOTION TO DISMISS
Turman seeks dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing that Plaintiff's
allegations are not sufficient to state a claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 upon which relief can be granted against
him. Specifically, Turman argues that the only factual
allegations Plaintiff makes against him is that Plaintiff
made a verbal complaint to Turman, who is the TDOC liason at
the SCCF, on the morning of May 17, 2016, about Defendant
Bowers not providing showers to inmates in administrative
segregation and that Turman stated “you are to get
showers Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.” See
Complaint at 16 and 17, ¶¶ 62-64. Turman argues
that these allegations do not show that Turman had any role
in denying Plaintiff showers or that Turman took or failed to
take any action regarding Plaintiff that would support a
claim of liability against Turman for denying Plaintiff's
constitutional rights. Plaintiff responds by asserting that
Defendant Turman was made aware of the lack of shower issue
and yet took no action to ensure that Plaintiff was provided
with a shower. See Plaintiff's Response (Docket
Entry No. 96). Plaintiff argues that these facts are
sufficient to show that Turman disregarded an excessive risk
to Plaintiff's health because of the lack of showers and
took part, implicitly authorized, and knowingly acquiesced in
the conduct of Bowers. Id. at 2, ¶ 3.
Turman's motion to dismiss should be granted. Personal
liability under Section 1983 must be based upon facts showing
that a defendant had some actual role in causing the
constitutional violation at issue. See Bellamy v.
Bradley, 729 F.2d 416, 421 (6th Cir. 1984). Plaintiff
must establish a “causal connection between the
misconduct complained of and the official sued.”
Dunn v. State of Tennessee, 697 F.2d 121, 128 (6th
Cir. 1982). There are no allegations that Turman was involved
in deciding whether Plaintiff was given a shower during the
seven days that he was in administrative segregation.
Further, Plaintiff's complaint to Turman, on the last day
that Plaintiff was held in administrative segregation, about
not receiving showers during the prior week and the fact that
Turman did not take steps to immediately ensure that
Plaintiff received a shower is simply an insufficient basis
to show active participation in or authorization of the
conduct of the officers who actually managed the segregation
unit. Mere allegations that a supervisory official failed to
intervene upon receiving an inmate's complaint are
generally not sufficient to support a constitutional claim.
See Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 576 (6th Cir.
2008); Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th
when the Court accepts as true the allegations made against
Turman and construes Plaintiff's complaint liberally in
favor of the pro se Plaintiff, as is required for
review of the Rule 12(b)(6) motion, see Kottmyer v.
Maas, 436 F.3d 684 (6th Cir. 2006); Boswell v.
Mayer, 169 F.3d 384, 387 (6th Cir. 1999); Morgan v.
Church's Fried Chicken, 829 F.2d 10, 11-12 (6th Cir.
1987), Plaintiff's Complaint fails to set out factual
allegations that would support a claim of individual
liability against Turman under Section 1983. Given the lack
of a plausible claim against Turman, his dismissal under Rule
12(b)(6) is warranted. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct.
1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)).
MOTION FOR ...