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Jackson v. Stewart County

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

April 13, 2018

GERALD D. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
STEWART COUNTY et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          ALETA A.TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, Gerald D. Jackson, proceeding pro se, has filed a complaint against defendants Stewart County, Derick Wyatt and Larry Wallace. (ECF No. 1.) Before the court are the plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 3) and a Motion for Discovery (ECF No. 4.) 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 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 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. 3) will be 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 will be assessed the full $350 filing fee, to be paid as directed in the accompanying order.

         II. Dismissal 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 on October 12, 2017, another inmate, Leo Thompson, who resided in the same pod at the Stewart County Jail as the plaintiff, had a heart attack and hit his head on a pole as he fell to the ground. (ECF No. 1 at Page ID# 3.) Mr. Thompson was lying face down, bleeding from his head and appeared to be dead. (Id.) The plaintiff alleges that Mr. Thompson stopped breathing and urinated on himself. (Id. at Page ID# 4.) Some deputies came to where Mr. Thompson was lying and called Thompson's name. (Id.) The plaintiff alleges that the deputies dragged Mr. Thompson by his feet away from the table where Mr. Thompson had been sitting before he fell. (Id.) The plaintiff alleges that the deputies flipped Mr. Thompson over roughly and began chest compressions but did not conduct mouth- to-mouth breathing.[1] (Id. at Page ID# 5.) “Mrs. Angie” got the “rescue cart and box to shock [Mr. Thompson's] heart back.” (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that, by this point, Mr. Thompson was dark blue. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he and the other prisoners who were watching these events transpire began to worry about what would happen to them in the same situation. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that the jail does not have any medical staff or, if it does have medical staff, they are not properly trained. (Id.)

         An ambulance arrived and the medical team from the ambulance came into the jail and took over caring for Mr. Thompson. (Id.) Plaintiff thought that Mr. Thompson had died but later learned that he was alive and at home with his family. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that since this incident he fears for his life at the jail. Plaintiff alleges that he is experiencing anxiety and trauma as a result of watching the events that transpired after Mr. Thompson's heart attack. He alleges that, because of the way Mr. Thompson was treated, his Eighth Amendment rights were violated. As relief, the plaintiff seeks damages to pay for all of his medical care until her dies. (Id. at Page ID# 7.)

         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 Fed.Appx. 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 Fed.Appx. 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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