United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ray Christy, an inmate of the Trousdale Turner Correctional
Complex in Hartsville, Tennessee, filed this pro se, in
forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against South Central Correctional Facility (SCCF) Warden
Cherry Lindamood, SCCF Assistant Warden Eric Bryant, SCCF
Associate Warden of Operations Danny Dodd, SCCF Chief of
Security Ryan Deatherage, SCCF Chief of Unit Management Shane
McClain, SCCF Unit Manager Danny Casteel, SCCF Case Manager
Jesse James, SCCF Sergeant f/n/u Brantley, SCCF Sergeant
f/n/u Bryte, SCCF psychiatrist f/n/u Steadman, SCCF Captain
Matthew Villanueva, Core Civic, and the as-yet identified
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer
(COO) of Core Civic, alleging violations of the
Plaintiff's constitutional and civil rights. (Doc. No.
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.
PLRA Screening Standard
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).
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)).
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).
Section 1983 Standard
brings his complaint 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.
complaint alleges that, on August 14, 2017, while an inmate
of the SCCF in Clifton, Tennessee, the Plaintiff fell
“due to Core Civic's negligence in keeping the pod
Gemini B clean and safe during a lockdown.” (Doc. No. 1
at 15). There were no yellow “wet floor” caution
signs warning inmates of standing grease and water on the
floor. The Plaintiff sustained injuries during the fall and
received medical treatment. He was prescribed Tylenol,
Ibuprofen, x-rays, and therapy. The complaint alleges that
the Plaintiff only received Tylenol for three months and a
wrist x-ray. He believes that he should receive an x-ray of
his back and neck and the prescribed therapy. In December
2017, the doctor reordered x-rays and therapy for the
Plaintiff, but “Core Civic in Nashville” denied
the request. (Id.) The complaint alleges that the
Plaintiff still suffers from pain and numbness on his left
side. He has lost use of two fingers and his thumb on his
left hand. His teeth were also damaged in the fall.
(Id. at 15-16).
January 8, 2018, the Plaintiff was told by Unit Manager
Casteel and Case Manager James that the Plaintiff would be
transferring to another facility soon. The Plaintiff, who was
in protective custody at SCCF, told Casteel and James that he
could not be moved to general population at another facility
because his life would be endangered. The Plaintiff gave
Casteel and James a list of incompatible inmates at the
facilities where he might be transferred. (Doc. No. 1 at 4).
They told the Plaintiff that he would be transferred
“even if it meant pepper-spraying” him.
Plaintiff filed an emergency grievance regarding his
potential transfer on January 10, 2018, and the grievance was
deemed “inappropriate” by grievance coordinator
Sergeant Staggs and returned “torn, defaced, and
missing the goldenrod copy” which prevented the
Plaintiff from being able to appeal. (Id. at 5). The
Plaintiff sent a copy of his grievance to “the
Commissioner's Designee-TDOC Turman” and Roberts in
Internal Affairs and did not hear back from either of them.
Plaintiff received notification on January 11, 2018, that he
was being transferred to the Hardeman County Correctional
Facility (HCCF) in Whiteville, Tennessee. He was “put
into such distress that [his] only option was to take a lot
of different pills . . . .” (Id.) The
Plaintiff was transported to the Wayne County Medical Center
for drug overdose and attempted suicide. After receiving
treatment, the Plaintiff was returned to SCCF where Dr.
Steadman, the prison psychiatrist, failed to keep the
Plaintiff for observation; instead, she called the transit
van back to pick the Plaintiff up for transfer to HCCF,
telling the Plaintiff that he was “alright and was just
trying to accomplish a goal.” (Id. at 6). The
Plaintiff believes that Dr. Steadman failed to observe and
treat the Plaintiff in retaliation for his suicide attempt
and temporary thwarting of the transfer to HCCF.
arrival at HCCF, the Plaintiff spoke with the facility's
medical and mental health staff, and HCCF officials called
the SCCF transit van back. The Plaintiff was returned to
SCCF, where Captain Villanueva wrote the Plaintiff up for
“Defiance, ” a Class B write-up, for his earlier
suicide attempt. The Plaintiff was placed in isolated
segregation and protective custody where he remains for
twenty-three hours daily. His cell is wet with broken glass
on the floor and a loose window; there are also live
electrical wires exposed. The Plaintiff was not permitted to
wear shoes in his cell. He asked for sandals so that he would
not have to walk on the broken glass and wet floor, and an
unidentified corrections officer told the Plaintiff
“no, [he] should of not pulled [his] stunt the night
before and made them do 2 hours worth of paperwork-referring
to [the Plaintiff's] attempted suicide.”
(Id. at 7). The Plaintiff was in his cell for two
hours without his shoes.
January 12, 2018, the Plaintiff was permitted a shower, but
the shower stall was broken and had “about 3 inches of
sewage water backed up in it.” (Id.) When an
unidentified corrections officer and Sergeant Bryte came to
get the Plaintiff, he was having problems “cuffing
up” due to the standing water and his disability, which
the complaint describes as narcolepsy, “a neurological
disorder.” (Id. at 7-8). The Plaintiff has LAN
- Limited Activity Notice from the medical staff stating that
he cannot stand for over fifteen minutes and needs a shower
chair. The officers left the Plaintiff standing in the water
alone for thirty minutes and told the Plaintiff that, if he
didn't like it, he should have stayed at HCCF.
Plaintiff continues to be housed in the same cell. He asked
Case Manager James, Sergeant Brantley, and Sergeant Bryte for
a new cell due to the conditions of his confinement in the
cell but they have not responded to his requests.
(Id. at 8). The Plaintiff's cell has no working
electrical outlets. The Plaintiff has a CPAP breathing
machine prescribed by a doctor for his narcolepsy. According
to the complaint, the CPAP machine prevents the Plaintiff
from “stopping breathing during sleep, this reduces
stress on [his] heart and damage, reduces risk of stroke and
damage to [the Plantiff's] brain, reduces high blood
pressure and risk to my heart and circulatory system, helps
reduce risk of possible death and permanent physical
injury.” (Id. at 12). The Plaintiff has asked
James, Brantley, and Bryte to move the Plaintiff to a cell
with electricity or to fix the electricity in the
Plaintiff's current cell so that he can use his CPAP
machine. The Plaintiff's requests have been ignored.
an inmate in protective custody segregation at SCCF, the
Plaintiff, who is a Christian, was not allowed to gather in
small groups for religious services and practice.
(Id. at 13). Outside Christian leaders were not
allowed access to protective custody inmates to hold services
with inmates individually or in small groups, although prison
policy permits such gatherings.
Section 1983 official capacity claims for ...