United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
JEREMY B. FULLER, Plaintiff,
TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, ET AL., Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL
WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL
IN FORMA PAUPERIS
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
28, 2017, Plaintiff Jeremy B. Fuller, who was, at the time, a
Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) inmate housed at
the Northwest Correctional Complex (NWCX) in Tiptonville,
Tennessee,  filed a pro se complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, accompanied by a motion to proceed
in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) The Court
subsequently granted 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.) The Clerk shall record
the Defendants as the TDOC and NWCX Sergeant Zac Rickettes.
alleges that on May 7, 2017, Defendant Rickettes entered
Fuller's cell in order to search it. (ECF No. 1 at PageID
2.) Fuller initially obeyed when Rickettes instructed him to
exit the cell. (Id.) But when he observed that
Rickettes was having difficulty opening a box of Fuller's
belongings Fuller re-entered the cell, walked up to
Rickettes, and allegedly offered to help him open it.
(Id.) Rickettes allegedly drew his taser and
threatened to tase Fuller. (Id.) Fuller states that
although he backed out of the cell on his own Rickettes
followed him out, still aiming the taser at him.
(Id. at PageID 2-3.) Rickettes allegedly followed
Fuller with the taser while calling him a bitch.
(Id. at PageID 3.) Fuller contends that calling
someone in prison a bitch is “a cardinal sin”
which means you want to fight with them. (Id.) After
Fuller later returned to his cell, Rickettes allegedly
continued to antagonize him in an effort to get Fuller to
react. (Id.) Rickettes allegedly drew his taser
again and said “f*** you” to Fuller.
asks that Rickettes be terminated from his job and seeks $1,
000, 000 in compensatory damages. (Id. at PageID 4.)
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 standards under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and in Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007),
are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71
(6th Cir. 2010). “Accepting all well-pleaded
allegations in the complaint as true, the Court
‘consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint
to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to
relief.'” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d
380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
681). “[P]leadings that . . . are no more than
conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.
While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a
complaint, they must be supported by factual
allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see
also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3 (“Rule
8(a)(2) still requires a ‘showing, ' rather than a
blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief. Without some
factual allegation in the complaint, it is hard to see how a
claimant could satisfy the requirement of providing not only
‘fair notice' of the nature of the claim, but also
‘grounds' on which the claim rests.”).
complaint can be frivolous either factually or
legally.” Hill, 630 F.3d at 470 (citing
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989)).
“Any complaint that is legally frivolous would
ipso facto fail to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Id. (citing
Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 328-29).
Whether a complaint is factually frivolous under §§
1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) is a separate issue from
whether it fails to state a claim for relief. Statutes
allowing a complaint to be dismissed as frivolous give judges
not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an
indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual
power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual
allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless. Unlike a dismissal for
failure to state a claim, where a judge must accept all
factual allegations as true, a judge does not have to accept
“fantastic or delusional” factual allegations as
true in prisoner complaints that are reviewed for
Id. at 471 (citations and internal quotation marks
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)). Pro
se litigants, however, are not exempt from the
requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989);
see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 Fed.Appx. 608, 612,
613 (6th Cir. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro
se complaint for failure to comply with “unique
pleading requirements” and stating “a court
cannot ‘create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not
spelled out in his pleading'” (quoting Clark v.
Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169
(6th Cir. 1975))); Payne v. Sec'y of Treas., 73
Fed.Appx. 836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua
sponte dismissal of complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2) and stating, “[n]either this court nor the
district court is required to create Payne's claim for
her”); cf. Pliler v. Ford, 542 U.S. 225, 231
(2004) (“District judges have no obligation to act as
counsel or paralegal to pro se litigants.”);
Young Bok Song v. Gipson, 423 Fed.Appx. 506, 510
(6th Cir. 2011) (“[W]e decline to affirmatively require
courts to ferret out the strongest cause of action on behalf