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Nelson v. Parker

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

March 8, 2018

DANIEL NELSON # 512858, Plaintiff,
v.
TONY PARKER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          Aleta A. Trauger United States District Judge

         Daniel Nelson, an inmate at the Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Tony Parker, Shawn Phillips, Gary Hamby, Dr. f/n/u O'Connor, Dr. f/n/u O'Toole, f/n/u Riggins, and Ace Glaspy, alleging violations of his civil rights. (Docket No. 1).

         I. PLRA Screening Standard

         The 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.

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the court must dismiss any portion of a civil complaint filed in forma pauperis that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, is frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Section 1915A similarly requires initial review of any “complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity, ” id. § 1915A(a), and summary dismissal of the complaint on the same grounds as those articulated in § 1915(e)(2)(B). Id. § 1915A(b).

         The Sixth Circuit has confirmed that the dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), “governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under those statutes because the relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule 12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Thus, to survive scrutiny on initial review, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[A] district court must (1) view the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and (2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.” Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)).

         Although pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), the courts' “duty to be ‘less stringent' with pro se complaints does not require us to conjure up [unpleaded] allegations.” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16, 19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted).

         II. Section 1983 Standard

         The plaintiff brings his claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 creates a cause of action against any person who, acting under color of state law, abridges “rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws . . . .” To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege and show two elements: (1) that he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. Tahfs v. Proctor, 316 F.3d 584, 590 (6th Cir. 2003); 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         III. Alleged Facts

         According to the complaint, the plaintiff is designated as a “Level 3 Mental Health” inmate. Tennessee Department of Correction (“TDOC”) Policy # 113.87 dictates that Level 3 Mental Health inmates are to be afforded at least four hours of “out of cell” time each day. While incarcerated at the Morgan County Correctional Complex, the defendants do not honor this policy and keep the plaintiff in his cell for twenty-three hours each day. As a result, the plaintiff's mental health is deteriorating. The complaint also alleges that the plaintiff's assigned unit is isolated, “feces filled[, ] and bloody.” (Docket No. 1 at 5).

         IV. Analysis

         A. Defendant with no alleged personal involvement

         First, although the plaintiff names Tony Parker as a defendant to this action, the plaintiff has not alleged any specific personal involvement by Parker in the events described in the complaint. A plaintiff must identify the right or privilege that was violated and the role of the defendant in the alleged violation, Miller v. Calhoun Cnty., 408 F.3d 803, 827 n.3 (6th Cir. 2005); Dunn v. Tennessee, 697 F.2d 121, 128 (6th Cir. 1982), and the plaintiff here has failed to do so with regard to Parker. The plaintiff's claims against Parker appear to ...


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