United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
A. TRAUGER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff Johnny Wade Stephens, proceeding pro se,
has filed a complaint against defendant Chief Judge Waverly
D. Crenshaw, Jr. (ECF No. 1.) Before the court are the
plaintiff's application to proceed in forma
pauperis (ECF No. 6) and a Motion for Orders to be
Transcribed and Mailed (ECF No. 8.) 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.
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
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. 6) will be
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.
Initial Review of the Complaint
complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on March 28, 2016, he
filed a case against the Franklin County Jail for
overcrowding. (ECF No. 1 at Page ID# 7) The case was
originally assigned to Judge Sharp, who transferred it to the
Eastern District of Tennessee, the proper venue for the case.
(Id.; see also Stephens v. Franklin County Jail
et al., Case No. 3:16-cv-0682 (M.D. Tenn.) at ECF No.
3.) The plaintiff sent letters to the court seeking
information about the status of his case, to which the court
responded. (Id.; see also ECF No.
7-8.) On June 1, 2017, the plaintiff filed a
Motion to Reopen Case, which was denied by Judge Crenshaw on
June 27, 2017. (See Stephens, Case No. 3:16-cv-0682
at ECF Nos. 11-12.) On July 29, 2016, the case file was
destroyed. (See id.) The plaintiff complains that he
did not receive notice that his case file would be destroyed.
plaintiff also complains that Judge Crenshaw denied his
Motion to Reopen Case because the plaintiff believes that his
Motion to Reopen Case was returned to him as undeliverable.
relief, the plaintiff seeks money damages. (ECF No. 1 at Page
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 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.”).
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); see
also Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (recognizing that
“[p]ro se complaints are to be held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, and
should therefore be liberally construed.” (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
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the federal
Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988);
Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549
(6th Cir. 2009). Because § 1983 is a method for
vindicating federal rights, not a source of substantive
rights itself, the first step in an action under ...