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Hiles v. Cannon County Sheriff's Office

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

February 20, 2018

LARRY J. HILES, JR., Plaintiff,



         The plaintiff Larry J. Hiles, proceeding pro se, has filed a civil complaint under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against defendants Cannon County Sheriff's Office and Cannon County. (ECF No. 1.) Before the court is the plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 2). In addition, his complaint is before the court for an initial review pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e.

         I. Application to Proceed as a Pauper

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), a prisoner bringing a civil action may be permitted to file suit without prepaying the filing fee required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). Because the plaintiff properly submitted an in forma pauperis application, and because it appears from his submissions that the plaintiff lacks sufficient financial resources from which to pay the full filing fee in advance, the application (ECF No. 2) is GRANTED.

         However, under § 1915(b), the plaintiff nonetheless remains responsible for paying the full filing fee. The obligation to pay the fee accrues at the time the case is filed, but the PLRA provides prisoner-plaintiffs the opportunity to make a “down payment” of a partial filing fee and to pay the remainder in installments. Accordingly, the plaintiff is hereby ASSESSED the full $350 filing fee, to be paid as directed in the accompanying order.

         II. Initial Review of the Complaint

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court is required to conduct an initial review of any complaint filed in forma pauperis and to dismiss the complaint if it is facially frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. Begola v. Brown, 172 F.3d 47 (Table), 1998 WL 894722, at *1 (6th Cir. Dec. 14, 1998) (citing McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007)). The Court must construe a pro se plaintiff's complaint liberally, Boag v. McDaniel, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982), and accept the plaintiff's allegations as true unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992).

         A. Factual Allegations

         In his complaint, the plaintiff alleges that in January, 2017 he was incarcerated at the Cannon County Jail on misdemeanor charges. (ECF No. 1 at Page ID# 5.) He was eventually placed in a cell block with felony offenders. (Id.) Approximately 30 minutes after arriving in the cell block, the plaintiff was assaulted by at least two other inmates. (Id.) He was knocked unconscious two different times. (Id.) He asked for medical attention and to be taken to an outside hospital. (Id.) He was denied medical treatment by the Jail Administrator Ed Brown, the Sheriff Daryl Young and Jeanie, the nurse on call. (Id.) After complaining of a back injury, he was told to “get up and walk, ” to “stop faking” and to “be a man.” (Id.) When plaintiff explained that he could not get up, Nurse Jeanie informed the Sheriff and Mr. Brown that the plaintiff would, “under law, ” have to be taken to Stones River Hospital. (Id.) Physicians at Stones River Hospital contacted Vanderbilt physicians who advised that the plaintiff should be transported to Vanderbilt for evaluation and possible surgery. (Id.) The plaintiff was “immediately released” from Cannon County Jail. (Id.) The plaintiff alleges that he experienced multiple facial fractures, had two surgeries-plastic and reconstructive, has loss of vision in his left eye, long and short term head injuries, permanent brain damage issues, post-traumatic stress, a broken jaw, two broken teeth, a “broken elbow/injured elbow, ” neck and spine injuries and several more less serious medical issues as a result of this incident. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that the jail and county have refused to take any responsibility for any of his medical bills even when contacted by Vanderbilt Hospital. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges that Cannon County issued arrest warrants against him before he was medically cleared and before he could receive his follow-up treatments. The plaintiff was soon rearrested and jailed. As relief, the plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

         B. Standard of Review

          If an action is filed in forma pauperis, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action . . . fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the court applies the standards under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as construed by Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007). See Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding that “the dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and Twombly governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under [§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)] because the relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule 12(b)(6)”). “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) (alteration in original). “[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.”).

         “Pro 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 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). 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). The court is not required to create a claim for the plaintiff. Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 F. App'x 608, 613 (6th Cir. 2011) (“[A] court cannot create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); Payne v. Sec'y of Treas., 73 F. App'x 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”).

         C. ...

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