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Pierce v. Correct Care

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

April 25, 2018

CORNELIUS PIERCE, # 177752, Plaintiff,
v.
CORRECT CARE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Cornelius Pierce, formerly an inmate of the Whiteville Correctional Facility in Whiteville, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action against Correct Care, f/n/u Bridges, Core Civic, and Charlie Peterson under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of the Plaintiff's civil rights. (Doc. No. 1). He also filed a “notice of injury and retaliation” (Doc. No. 3) and two letters to the Court (Doc. Nos. 5 and 9).

         The 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.

         I. Notices and Letters

         The Plaintiff has filed a “notice of injury and retaliation” (Doc. No. 3) and two letters to Court (Doc. Nos. 5 and 9). The Plaintiff's notice and letters restate the allegations of the complaint and add details and claims not previously mentioned in the original complaint. The Court will consider the notice and letters in evaluating the Plaintiff's claims pursuant to the PLRA. However, going forward, the Plaintiff is advised that he cannot litigate this action or any action in this Court by way of letters and notices to the Court. Even though the Plaintiff is proceeding pro se and the Court will take into consideration his pro se status when evaluating pleadings and pending motions, the Plaintiff is still required to comply with the rules governing this case. These rules exist to ensure fairness to all parties. If the Plaintiff wishes for the Court to consider arguments and evidence, he must raise them by way of timely and properly filed motions.

         II. Required Screening

         Because the Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis in this case, the Court is required to screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Under 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.

         The 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)).

         Although 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).

         III. Section 1983 Standard

         Plaintiff 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.

         IV. Alleged Facts

         The complaint alleges that, on December 28, 2016, while an inmate of the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility in Nashville, Tennessee, the Plaintiff was working the kitchen detail and fell. During the fall, he sustained injuries to his wrist. The Plaintiff saw a nurse who gave him Naproxen for his pain. The nurse told the Plaintiff that he would see a doctor the next day. After a week passed without seeing a doctor, the Plaintiff began “putting in sick calls” and was finally seen by a doctor in February 2017. (Doc. No. 1 at 5). Soon thereafter, the Plaintiff received an x-ray and learned that his wrist was broken. (Doc. No. 3 at 1). The doctor told the Plaintiff that there was “nothing they can do about [his] wrist [be]cause it happen[ed] to[o] long ago.” (Id.) According to the complaint, the Plaintiff's wrist constantly hurts. (Doc. No. 1 at 5).

         The Plaintiff believes that Core Civic retaliated against him for filing this lawsuit by sending the Plaintiff to the Whiteville prison. (Doc. Nos. 3 at 2, 9 at 1). The Plaintiff describes by letter how the Whiteville staff refused assist the Plaintiff with his trust fund account statement and refused to give him papers he needs to challenge his sentence. (Doc. No. 9 at 1). The Plaintiff also believes that Core Civic retaliated against him by conducting ...


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