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Seabrooks v. Core Civic

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

May 21, 2018

SHAIRIQ SEABROOKS, # 431620, Plaintiff,
CORE CIVIC, et al., Defendants.


          Aleta A. Trauger, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Shairiq Seabrooks, an inmate of the Hardeman County Correctional Center in Hartsville, Tennessee, filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Core Civic, Core Civic Health Dept., Mr. f/n/u Mitchell, Mr. f/n/u Green, Mr. f/n/u Ramos, Mr. f/n/u Roberts, Mr. f/n/u Robertson, Mr. f/n/u Holloway, Mr. f/n/u Baker, Mr. f/n/u Martinez, Dr. John Doe, and John/Jane Does 1-15, alleging violations of the Plaintiff's 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, on January 24, 2017, the plaintiff arrived at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (“TTCC”). While exiting the bus, the plaintiff noticed three members of the Crips gang (John Does 12, 13, and 14) acting in a threatening way toward the plaintiff. The plaintiff became scared because he was incarcerated for killing the brother of John Doe 14. Another inmate told the plaintiff that the gang members were armed with shanks. Fearing for his physical safety, the plaintiff refused to get off the bus.

         The plaintiff communicated his concerns to corrections officer John Doe 1 and asked for an “incompatible, ” meaning the plaintiff would be placed in protective custody until he could be transferred to another facility. John Doe 1 gave the plaintiff the appropriate form for making an incompatible request and asked the plaintiff to identify out of a group of photographs the brother of the victim in the plaintiff's crime.

         On the same day, the plaintiff also informed corrections officers John Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3 of his concerns. The officers allegedly informed Crips gang members of what the plaintiff had told them and made comments to the plaintiff such as he “was not a real nigga, [he] was a snitch, [he] was a coward, [he] was shaky . . . .” (Docket No. 1 at 7). They told the plaintiff that they would “make sure” he went in a unit with Crips gang members. (Id.) After speaking with John Doe 1, John Doe 2 and Jane Doe 3 conspired to place the plaintiff in a unit with Crips gang members. They also placed inmate David Bibbs in the same unit. Bibbs was the plaintiff's co-defendant in the crime of killing a Crips gang member.

         On the evening of January 24, 2017, the plaintiff heard inmates talking to corrections officer Jane Doe 4 outside of the plaintiff's cell. These inmates, who were Crips gang members, asked Jane Doe 4 to open the plaintiff's door once he was asleep. The plaintiff then jammed his door shut with a brush so it would not open and stayed awake all night. Jane 4 Doe continuously checked his cell throughout the night to see if he was asleep. The next morning, the plaintiff repeatedly pressed the emergency call button and asked to be removed from his cell, but no one assisted him.

         On the afternoon of January 25, 2017, corrections officer Jane Doe 5 came to retrieve the plaintiff for his shower. He declined and would not open his door due to fears about his safety. Jane Doe 5 yelled to the Crips gang members, telling them that the plaintiff “had did something to the door and it would not open.” (Docket No. 1 at 9). Jane Doe 3 walked into the unit and stated that “she tried to give them the chance to kill” the plaintiff. (Id.) Jane Doe 5 left and asked Bibbs if he wanted a shower. He exited his cell, Crips gang members ambushed him, and killed him. Shortly afterwards, John Doe 6 entered the unit and called for medics. When the medics arrived, Crips gang members asked if Bibbs was dead. The medics said yes, and the Crips gang members celebrated and told the plaintiff that “he was next.” (Id. at 10).

         The plaintiff told John Doe 6 that the plaintiff needed to get out of this unit. At first, John Doe 6 “seemed to be helping” the plaintiff, but “then for some reason . . . stopped helping [the plaintiff] and started helping [Crips gang members].” (Id.) He created a situation where the Crips gang members could enter the plaintiff's cell and kill him. (Id. at 11). The plaintiff begged for his life while the Crips gang members taunted him “about how they would kill [the plaintiff] and bragged that their homeboy had a funneral [sic] and David Bibbs would not have a funneral [sic].” (Id.) The plaintiff believes that John Doe 6 assisted the Crips gang members in flushing Bibbs's body down the toilet in pieces. (Id.) The plaintiff was so upset that he nearly committed suicide by tying a sheet around his neck. (Id.)

         A nurse came to the plaintiff's cell, and he told her what had happened. He begged her to place him in medical on suicide watch to get him out of the unit or to at least stay with him so the Crips gang members would not kill him. The nurse, Jane Doe 7, refused his requests. Another nurse, Jane Doe 8, subsequently came to see the plaintiff, he made the same requests to her, and she also refused to help.

         The plaintiff began yelling for help and begging John Doe 6 to help him. John Doe 6 “told the Crips gang members in the cell next to [the plaintiff] to hurry up, and that he wanted [the plaintiff's] tongue cut out [his] mouth.” (Id. at 12). The plaintiff then attempted to kill himself by cutting the veins in his wrist, arms, and neck. Corrections officer John Doe 9 came by, saw the plaintiff “bleeding out, ” and called a code. (Id.) As the plaintiff was being taken out of his cell by medics, Crips gang members yelled to John Doe 6, asking him to let them “finish off” the plaintiff. (Id.)

         When the plaintiff awoke at the hospital, officers told him that no one had been killed at the facility. The plaintiff subsequently was transferred to the DeBerry Special Needs Facility (“DSNF”). The plaintiff believes that the defendants employed by DSNF are covering up Bibbs's murder. The plaintiff states that he is participating in an investigation about Bibbs with the Federal Bureau ...

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