United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
ALVINO L. HILL, Plaintiff,
BEARDEN DRIVERS LICENSE, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
RONNIE GREER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Alvino L. Hill brings this pro se civil rights action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking injunctive relief [Docs. 2 and
2-1]. The sole named Defendant is the “Bearden Drivers
License, ” which the Court deems to be the
Knoxville/Knox County Driver License Reinstatement Center,
430 Montbrook Lane, Knoxville TN 37919. See
Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Driver
Services division, online at
(last visited Apr. 11, 2018). Plaintiff's application to
proceed in forma pauperis reflects that, at present,
he lacks the funds to pay the $400 civil filing fee;
therefore, his application [Doc. 1] is
GRANTED and he will not be required to pay
the filing fee.
to the allegations in the complaint, Plaintiff needs his
drivers license to afford himself transportation and, despite
his numerous efforts to have his drivers license reinstated,
he has not realized that goal. For example, Plaintiff has
visited several drivers license locations, attempting to
secure the reinstatement of his drivers license, has paid all
outstanding indebtedness on the sixteen cars he has owned
through the years, has paid many tickets-even tickets that
were old and not listed on the computer or on paper, and has
kept tabs on his tickets for years. Plaintiff contends that
he has paid the fee for reinstatement of his license and the
costs of printing the license and that, indeed, he has
overcome many obstacles, including paying his debt to society
by serving 10 years imprisonment and living 14 to 16 years on
the street. Plaintiff “give[s his] word” that he
is “fine” and that he “drive[s] well”
and asks the Court to issue him a drivers license [Doc. 2-1
Court must screen complaints filed by non-prisoners who are
proceeding in forma pauperis. See McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir. 1997) (citing
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), overruled on other grounds
by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007)). Dismissal is
required if complaints are frivolous or malicious, if they
fail to state a claim for relief, or if they seek monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
performing this task, the Court recognizes that pro se
pleadings filed in civil rights cases are construed
indulgently and held to a less stringent standard than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers. McNeil v. United
States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993); Pilgrim v.
Littlefield, 92 F.3d 413, 416 (6th Cir. 1996). Even so,
the complaint must be sufficient “to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face, ” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007),
which simply means the factual content pled by a plaintiff
must permit a court “to draw the reasonable inference
that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The
standard articulated in Twombly and Iqbal
“governs dismissals for failure state a claim under
[§§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)] 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).
order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff
must establish that he was deprived of a federal right by a
person acting under color of state law. See Black v.
Barberton Citizens Hosp., 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th Cir.
1998); see also Braley v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d
220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990) (“Section 1983 does not itself
create any constitutional rights; it creates a right of
action for the vindication of constitutional guarantees found
Court now screens the complaint to determine if Defendant
should be served.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
on the following law and reasoning, no service will be
ordered on Defendant.
well settled that the Eleventh Amendment bars an action in a
federal court against a State or a state agency unless
Congress has abrogated its sovereign immunity or the State
has expressly waived it. See, e.g. Welch v. Texas
Dep't of Highways and Pub. Transp., 483 U.S. 468,
472-73 (1987); Mosley v. Hairston, 920 F.2d 409, 415
(6th Cir. 1990); Berndt v. Tennessee, 796 F.2d 879,
881 (6th Cir. 1986). This immunity extends to claims for
injunctive relief. See Lawson v. Shelby Cnty.,
Tenn., 211 F.3d 331, 335 (6th Cir. 2000) (providing that
“the [Eleventh] Amendment prohibits suits against a
‘state' in federal court whether for injunctive,
declaratory or monetary relief”). Congress did not
abrogate Eleventh Amendment immunity by enacting § 1983.
Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332 (1979). Tennessee has
not expressly waived its right to sovereign immunity. See
Gross v. Univ. of Tenn., 620 F.2d 109, 110 (6th Cir.
1980); Anderson v. Univ. of Tenn., No.
3:15-CV-00513, 2017 WL 499981, at *2 (E.D. Tenn. Feb. 7,
2017) (observing that Tennessee has not waived its Eleventh
Amendment immunity); see also Tenn. Code Ann. §
Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, a
state agency of which the “Bearden Drivers
License” is a branch, is entitled to immunity under the
Eleventh Amendment. See Thiokol Corp. v. Mich. Dep't
of Treasury, 987 F.2d 376, 381 (6th Cir. 1993)
(“[The Eleventh Amendment] bars all suits, whether for
injunctive, declaratory or monetary relief, against the state
and its departments.”) (citing Pennhurst State Sch.
& Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100-01 (1984);
Eckerman v. Tenn. Dep't of Safety, 636 F.3d 202,
210 (6th Cir. 2010) (affirming summary judgment for
predecessor state agency on Eleventh Amendment grounds);
Hazelwood v. Tenn. Dep't of Safety, No.
3:05-CV-356, 2006 WL 752588, at *1 (E.D. Tenn. Mar. 22, 2006)
(dismissing predecessor state agency as immune from suit
under the Eleventh Amendment).
Defendant enjoys Eleventh Amendment immunity from this suit
and the Court has no jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims
against it. Cady v. Arenac Cnty., 574 F.3d 334,
344-45 (6th Cir. 2009) (finding that the Eleventh Amendment
poses a jurisdictional bar that can ...