United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER DISMISSING CLAIMS AND GRANTING LEAVE TO
THOMAS ANDERSON, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
August 11, 2016, Plaintiff Jimmy Gibson, who is currently
incarcerated at the Northeast Correctional Complex
(“NECX”) in Mountain City, Tennessee, filed
pro se a Complaint for damages under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) The Court granted Gibson
leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the
civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b).
(ECF No. 4.) Gibson's claims arise from events during his
incarceration at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary
(“WTSP”) in Henning, Tennessee. As such, venue is
proper in this District. The Clerk is instructed to record
the Defendants as Former WTSP Warden James Holloway, Former
WTSP Warden Johnny Fitz, Lieutenant Thomas Shell, and
Sergeant Brian Galloway. Gibson sues each Defendant in his
official and individual capacities.
alleges that on January 30, 2016, he witnessed another
inmate, Wilson Nelly, stab a second inmate, Patrick Dunn, in
the neck. (Compl. at 6, ECF No. 1.) Nelly also allegedly cut
Gibson on the hand during the assault. (Id.)
According to Gibson, the alleged assault occurred in unit
9-A-Pod, a housing pod for low security inmates.
(Id.) Gibson claims that he was a minimum trustee
inmate and should have been housed in the annex, and not with
the inmates in 9-A-Pod. (Id.) Gibson alleges that
unnamed WTSP staff acted negligently by assigning him to the
pod where the assault took place. (Id.) Gibson
further alleges that unnamed WTSP staff failed to keep the
door to the pod locked and failed to notice that Nelly was
out of place. (Id. at 7.) According to Gibson, the
officer assigned to the pod, Officer Sondra Thorpe, who is
not a party to this action, did not use chemical spray to
subdue Nelly and failed to alert other staff to the fact that
Nelly was not supposed to be in the pod at the time of the
assault. (Id.) WTSP staff investigated the assault
but failed to recognize that Nelly was in the wrong housing
unit. (Id.) As a result of the investigation, Gibson
claims that WTSP staff moved him to segregation.
(Id.) Gibson claims that he attempted to raise his
concerns about his safety with former WTSP Warden James
Holloway (“Warden Holloway”), and Warden Holloway
ignored Gibson. (Id.) Gibson now seeks $2 million in
compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages for
negligence, emotional distress, and cruel and unusual
punishment. (Id. at 9.)
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to
dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. §
assessing whether the Complaint in this case states a claim
on which relief may be granted, the Court applies the Federal
Rule Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) pleading standards announced in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009) and
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57
(2007). Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th
Cir. 2010). The Court accepts the Complaint's
“well-pleaded” factual allegations as true and
then determines whether the allegations “plausibly
suggest an entitlement to relief.” Williams v.
Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681). Conclusory allegations
“are not entitled to the assumption of truth, ”
and legal conclusions “must be supported by factual
allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
Ultimately, a complaint need only contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8(a)(2)
nevertheless requires factual allegations to make a
“showing, rather than a blanket assertion, of
entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
se complaints are to be held ‘to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ' and
should therefore be liberally construed.”
Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v.
Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Even so,
pro se litigants and prisoners are not exempt from
the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989).
And district courts are not required “to ferret out the
strongest cause of action on behalf of pro se
litigants.” Young Bok Song v. Gipson, 423 F.
App'x 506, 510 (6th Cir. 2011). In the final analysis, a
court “cannot create a claim which [a plaintiff] has
not spelled out in his pleading.” Brown v.
Matauszak, 415 F. App'x 608, 612-13 (6th Cir. 2011).
filed his pro se Complaint on the official form for
actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 provides:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities ...