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Hamby v. Parker

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

May 16, 2018

WILLIAM D. HAMBY, JR. # 135146, Plaintiff,
v.
TONY PARKER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          Aleta A. Trauger United States District Judge.

         William D. Hamby, Jr., an inmate of the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX) in Wartburg, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Tony Parker, Gary Hamby, and f/n/u Ridenour, alleging violations of his civil rights. (Docket No. 1). The plaintiff's 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. PLRA Screening Standard

         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. 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).

         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).

         II. Section 1983 Standard

         The 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.

         III. Alleged Facts

         The complaint alleges that Tennessee Department of Correction Commissioner Parker and MCCX Warden Hamby require MCCX inmates who are designated “MAX” mental health custody inmates to be housed in the same unit as inmates who are designated “close” mental health custody inmates. (Docket No. 1 at 2). The plaintiff is designated a “close” mental health inmate and, while incarcerated at MCCX, during a daily, one-hour group activity, he is put in a cage next to “MAX” custody inmate David Deshaun Mays, a known violent sex offender. (Id. at 1). According to the complaint, Mays “daily threatens to rape” the plaintiff. (Id. at 2).

         On December 15, 2017, Mays was not searched prior to being placed in the cage, and he brought a bottle filled with urine and blood and threw the contents of the bottle at the plaintiff, exposing the plaintiff to the bodily fluids. (Id.) The plaintiff attempted to report the incident to the police, seek recourse from officials within the prison, and request an “incompatible” with Mays, but defendant Ridenour would not allow the plaintiff to proceed. (Id.) Further, Mays was not disciplined for this event because Ridenour “has a hidden ‘obligation' to some inmates.” (Id. at 3, 5). The plaintiff fears that he has been exposed to HIV as a result of the blood to which he was exposed. (Id. at 4).

         IV. Analysis

         A. Security classification

         The complaint alleges that defendants Parker and Hamby are responsible for the housing arrangement at MCCX, whereby inmates who are designated “MAX” mental health custody inmates are housed in the same unit as inmates who are ...


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