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Roberts v. Cothron

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

February 26, 2018

JACK ROBERTS, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER COTHRON, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Jack Roberts filed this pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Officer Cothron [F/N/U] and the Mt. Juliet Police Department. (Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff was confined at the Wilson County Jail in Lebanon, Tennessee, at the time he filed this action, and is currently confined at the Smith County Sheriff's Office in Carthage, Tennessee. Plaintiff has also filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 7.)

         I. Application to Proceed as a Pauper

         A prisoner bringing a civil action may be permitted to file suit without prepaying the filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Because it appears from Plaintiff's in forma pauperis application that he lacks sufficient financial resources from which to pay the full filing fee in advance, Plaintiff's application (Doc. No. 7) will be granted. Plaintiff nonetheless remains responsible for paying the full filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Plaintiff will therefore be assessed the full $350.00 filing fee, to be paid as directed in the accompanying Order.

         II. Initial Review

         The Court is required to conduct an initial review and dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A, 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court must construe the pro se complaint liberally, United States v. Smotherman, 838 F.3d 736 (6th Cir. 2016) (citing Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)), and accept the plaintiff's factual allegations as true unless they are entirely without credibility. See Thomas v. Eby, 481 F.3d 434, 437 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992)).

         A. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff alleges that on January 25, 2017, the Mt. Juliet Police Department, including Officer Cothron, “surrounded” him. (Doc. No. 1 at 7.) Officer Cothron ordered Plaintiff to walk backwards, and Plaintiff complied. (Id.) At some point, Officer Cothron twisted Plaintiff's arm with “excessive force” and arrested Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff experienced significant pain and “tried to explain that he was hurt.” (Id.) Officer Cothron did not ask Plaintiff if he needed to go to the hospital. (Id.)

         Plaintiff was taken to Wilson County Jail, where a guard asked Plaintiff if he was “OK.” (Id.) Plaintiff stated that he thought his arm was broken, and the guard called for a nurse. (Id.) The nurse looked at Plaintiff's arm and told Officer Cothron that Plaintiff needed to go to the emergency room. (Id.) Officer Cothron took Plaintiff to the emergency room at Wilson County Hospital. (Id.) Plaintiff received x-rays, the doctor informed Plaintiff that his “top bone” was broken, and Plaintiff's arm was fitted with a “cast/splint.” (Id.)

         B. Standard of Review

         To determine whether a prisoner's complaint “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted” under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court applies the same standard as under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). The Court therefore accepts “all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, [and] ‘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 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009)). An assumption of truth does not, however, extend to allegations that consist of legal conclusions or “‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). A pro se pleading must be liberally construed and “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         C. Discussion

         “To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must set forth facts that, when construed favorably, establish (1) the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States (2) caused by a person acting under the color of state law.” Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Sigley v. City of Parma Heights, 437 F.3d 527, 533 (6th Cir. 2006)).

         1. Mt. Juliet ...


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