United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jessie Lee McLendon, an inmate currently confined at the
Montgomery County Jail in Clarksville, Tennessee, filed this
pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the Montgomery County Jail and ABL. (Doc. No.
1.) Liberally construing the complaint, the Court will also
consider any claims Plaintiff raises against the three
individuals referred to in the narrative portion of the
complaint-Lieutenant Stilts, Captain Pierce, and an unnamed
Chaplain. Plaintiff has also filed an application to proceed
in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 2.)
Application to Proceed as a Pauper
Court may authorize a prisoner to file a civil 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. 2) will be granted. Plaintiff
nonetheless remains responsible for paying the full $350.00
filing fee, so the fee will be assessed as directed in the
accompanying Order. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
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); 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c)(1). The Court must construe a pro se
plaintiff's 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)).
alleges that in October 2016, he adopted religious beliefs
that require him to observe certain dietary restrictions.
(Doc. No. 1 at 5.) Plaintiff requested that his meals conform
to these restrictions, and he was told there was a “3
month allowance” for the Chaplain to arrange an
observant diet. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he
“was switched a few weeks after.” (Id.)
alleges that he showed the “protein facts” of his
diet to ABL, the Chaplain, and prison officials, and requests
meals with “proper vitamins, proteins, [and]
sugars.” (Id. at 4, 6.) Plaintiff also alleges
that prison officials “are still in violation of his
religious rights” and requests “proper religious
materials.” (Id. at 4-6.) Thus, Plaintiff
essentially alleges that the Chaplain switched him to a diet
that is not nutritionally adequate and still does not conform
to his religious beliefs. (Id. at 4-6.) Plaintiff
filed grievances from December 2016 until 2018, but
“nothing was fixed.” (Id. at 5.)
Plaintiff also sent written complaints to two prison
officials-Lieutenant Stilts and Captain Pierce-but they did
not respond. (Id.) At the time Plaintiff filed the
complaint, “nothing had changed.” (Id.)
Standard of Review
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, 551 U.S. at 94 (citing Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
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 ...