United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
A. TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiffs, Ronald Allen and Justin Ezra Jones, proceeding
pro se, have filed a civil Complaint under 28 U.S.C.
§1983 against defendant Bill Holt. (ECF No. 1.) Before
the court are the plaintiffs' applications to proceed
in forma pauperis (ECF Nos. 2, 3.) In addition,
their 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.
Application to Proceed as a Pauper
the 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 plaintiffs properly submitted their in forma
pauperis applications, and because it appears from their
submissions that the plaintiffs lack sufficient financial
resources from which to pay the full filing fee in advance,
their applications (ECF Nos. 2, 3) will be granted.
under § 1915(b), the plaintiffs nonetheless remain
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 plaintiffs
will be assessed $175 each, which represents each
plaintiff's proportional share of the full $350 filing
fee, to be paid as directed in the accompanying order.
Dismissal of the Complaint
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).
their Complaint, the plaintiffs allege that about once per
week or once every two weeks a chaplain or preacher will come
into the pod where they are housed to perform a church
service. (ECF No. 1 at Page ID# 5.) During the service the
television is on and the volume is very loud. (Id.)
Additionally, other inmates are allowed to be out of their
cells, and they are loud and disrespectful to the “very
few people trying to worship in the middle of the pod.”
(Id.) The plaintiffs contend that “this is no
way what I consider having church.”
plaintiffs allege that, since they arrived at the Robertson
County Jail on October 7, 2017, they “have not had any
outside rec[reation].” (Id.)
the plaintiffs allege that they “have not been able to
access a law library and the staff keeps telling me the
problem is being looked into.” (Id.) At least
one plaintiff has a “serious case pending and no way to
try and help fight my case.”
plaintiffs allege claims for violation of their right to
exercise their religion, failure to provide outdoor
recreation, and violation of their right to access the
courts. As relief, the plaintiffs seek a transfer and
Standard of Review
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 ...