United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Leon Colbert, an inmate currently confined at the Northeast
Correctional Complex in Mountain City, Tennessee, filed this
pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, naming as defendants Cherry Lindamood, CoreCivic/South
Central Correctional Facility, Michael R. Neilson, Gregory
Keeton, Wanda Spears, Hank Inman, Tyler Barnett, Lieutenant
Winston [F/N/U], Tony Parker, Robert Turman, and the
Tennessee Department of Corrections (“TDOC”).
Plaintiff also refers to Case Manager Bennett [F/N/U] and
Correctional Officer Durham [F/N/U] as defendants in the body
of the complaint. Plaintiff also filed an application to
proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. No. 2) and a Motion
for a Temporary Restraining Order (Doc. No. 3).
Application to Proceed as a Pauper
Court may authorize a prisoner to file a civil suit without
prepaying the filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Because
it appears from Plaintiff's in forma pauperis
application that he lacks sufficient financial resources from
which to pay the full filing fee in advance, Plaintiff's
application (Doc. No. 2) will be granted. Plaintiff
nonetheless remains responsible for paying the $350.00 filing
fee, so the fee will be assessed as directed in the
accompanying Order. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).
Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order
time Plaintiff filed this action, he was confined at the
South Central Correctional Facility (“SCCF”) in
Clifton, Tennessee. (Doc. No. 1 at 2.) His Motion for a
Temporary Restraining Order requests immediate transfer from
SCCF to another facility. (Doc. No. 3 at 1, 3.) Since filing
this motion, Plaintiff has been transferred to the Northeast
Correctional Complex in Mountain City, Tennessee. (Doc. Nos.
5-6.) Thus, Plaintiff has received the requested relief.
Moreover, “[a] prisoner's request for injunctive
relief is moot upon his transfer to a different
facility.” Newell v. Ford, No. 16-6449, 2016
WL 9737926, at *1 (6th Cir. Oct. 31, 2016) (citing Kensu
v. Haigh, 87 F.3d 172, 175 (6th Cir. 1996)).
Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary
Restraining Order (Doc. No. 3) will be denied as moot.
Court is required to conduct an initial review and dismiss
the complaint if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915A, 1915(e)(2)(B); 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c)(1). The Court must construe a pro se
complaint liberally, United States v. Smotherman,
838 F.3d 736 (6th Cir. 2016) (citing Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)), and accept the
plaintiff's factual allegations as true unless they are
entirely without credibility. See Thomas v. Eby, 481
F.3d 434, 437 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992)).
alleges that in November 2017, while assigned to C-A pod cell
202, he requested reassignment to a different pod from
Sergeant Westerman and Case Manager Bennett. (Doc. No. 1 at
5.) Plaintiff told them that the Crips gang was extorting
money from him, that he expected to be assaulted if he missed
a payment, and that he did not have the money to pay.
(Id.) Defendant Bennett told Plaintiff that his
request would likely be denied because segregation was
overcrowded, and because Plaintiff ran afoul of the SCCF
administration's policy to deny a cell change request if
an inmate received a write-up in the six months preceding the
request. (Id. at 6.) Bennett sent Plaintiff back to
the same cell. (Id.) In December 2017, members of
the Crips assaulted Plaintiff, and threatened to assault
Plaintiff and his brother if he told anyone. (Id.)
Plaintiff did not report the assault at the time.
the December 2017 assault, Plaintiff requested to see a
dentist because his bottom right teeth were so loose that he
had difficulty chewing. (Id.) Plaintiff informed a
nurse that he had been assaulted, and the nurse referred
Plaintiff to the dentist. (Id.) A dentist named Dr.
Brewster examined Plaintiff a “couple weeks later,
” informed Plaintiff that he may have a broken jaw,
pulled one of Plaintiff's bottom teeth, and prescribed
ibuprofen and penicillin. (Id.)
a week, Plaintiff experienced seizures. (Id.)
Emergency medical services transported Plaintiff to the
Waynesboro hospital, where Plaintiff underwent several tests.
(Id.) A doctor determined that Plaintiff had a
fractured jaw and a healed fracture on his top left jaw line.
(Id. at 6-7.) Plaintiff told the doctor he sustained
these injuries from gang assaults at SCCF. (Id. at
7.) The doctor transferred Plaintiff to Vanderbilt Medical
Center, and a Vanderbilt doctor concurred with the referring
doctor's diagnoses. (Id.) The doctor placed
Plaintiff on a liquid diet, prescribed him ibuprofen,
scheduled surgery on his jaw, and told him to avoid fighting.
(Id.) Prison staff transported Plaintiff back to
SCCF, and Plaintiff spent several days in medical, during
which Plaintiff received the prescribed treatment.
(Id.) Plaintiff then returned to C-A pod cell 202.
January 2018, Hank Inman, the Security Threat Group
Coordinator at SCCF, placed Plaintiff in segregation because
Inman suspected that Plaintiff was in the Bloods gang.
(Id.) Plaintiff was also taken to segregation for
possession of a weapon and refusing a drug test.
(Id. at 8.) Plaintiff later told Inman in a medical
examination room that he had been found with a weapon because
the Bloods gang was attempting to rob and assault him.
(Id. at 7-8.) Plaintiff also told Inman that the
Bloods were pressuring him to bring contraband into SCCF, but
that Plaintiff could not do so. (Id.) Geneva
Roberts, a member of SCCF Internal Affairs staff, was present
for this conversation. (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff was
then released from segregation and placed in A-B pod cell
226. (Id.) Later, after an incident caused SCCF to
go on lockdown, Defendant Inman called Plaintiff to his
office because Inman was interviewing all members of the
Bloods gang. (Id.) Plaintiff told Inman that he was
not affiliated with the Bloods, and Inman said he would ask
the warden and internal affairs to transfer Plaintiff
March 7, 2018, Plaintiff requested reassignment from Sergeant
Rich because he was having gang problems in A-B pod.
(Id.) CO Jackson took Plaintiff and fellow inmate
Richard Hopkins to E-B pod cell 103. (Id.) On March
8, Plaintiff smoked marijuana and drank alcohol that Hopkins
gave him. (Id.) Plaintiff told CO Walls that Hopkins
had drugged him. (Id.) Plaintiff requested medical
attention, and told Sergeant Rich that Hopkins was conspiring
with other inmates to rob and assault him. (Id. at
9.) SCCF mental health staff arrived, and Plaintiff denied
being suicidal or hearing voices. (Id.) Plaintiff
was taken to medical cell 65. (Id.)
March 9, 2018, Lieutenant Winston and CO Neilson told
Plaintiff to move to C-A pod cell 101. (Id. at 9,
23.) Plaintiff told them he had been assaulted in C-A pod,
and asked to speak to the person who ordered his relocation.
(Id. at 9.) Plaintiff also told this to an
individual he believed to be CO Mills, but turned out to be
SCCF Captain Gregory Keeton. (Id.) Neilson told
Plaintiff he did not have a choice, and Winston told
Plaintiff he would be moved to another pod “after count
clear[ed].” (Id. at 10.) Plaintiff went to C-A
pod cell 101 that afternoon, and members of the Crips gang
told Plaintiff they would assault him if stayed in C-A pod.
(Id.) Plaintiff relayed this threat to Michelle
Wells, an SCCF case manager. (Id.) Wells and an
unnamed Sergeant questioned Plaintiff in another area, and
told Plaintiff he would be moved to segregation “after
count.” (Id.) Plaintiff returned to the cell,
count cleared, and SCCF staff did not come to retrieve
Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff then went to the chow
hall to request reassignment from a member of prison staff,
and Neilson and Winston told Plaintiff they did not believe
he was in danger. (Id. at 11, 23.) Plaintiff threw a
food tray on the floor in an unsuccessful attempt to be
placed in segregation. (Id. at 11.)
then went to “pill call, ” and two white gang
members from the E-B pod attacked him. (Id.)
Plaintiff returned to the C-A pod, where gang members forced
Plaintiff to fight CO Patrick Montague. (Id. at 11,
23.) Plaintiff told Montague to “hit the man-down code
and call [for] backup.” (Id. at 11.) Upon
hearing Plaintiff tell Montague this, a member of the Crips
attacked Plaintiff, and other gang members assaulted
Plaintiff and carried him to the front of the pod.
(Id.) Plaintiff was badly bleeding from a cut over
his eye. (Id.) SCCF staff members took Plaintiff to
medical, and Plaintiff told them that his life was in danger.
(Id.) Heather Banks, a member of the SCCF medical
staff, examined Plaintiff and stitched the cut over his eye.
(Id.) Captain Whitehead questioned Plaintiff and
ordered SCCF staff to photograph Plaintiff and escort him to
segregation in H-C pod cell 213. (Id.) Plaintiff
gave an “emergency grievance” related to this
incident to SCCF staff member Mark E. Bowers to take to a
captain. (Id.) The captain determined that the
grievance was not an emergency and forwarded it to Brenda
Pevahouse. (Id.) According to Plaintiff, he was the
only inmate segregated or charged because of this incident.
March 16, 2018, as Plaintiff was receiving a food tray,
another inmate told him to check the tray “for hair on
it.” (Id. at 12.) Defendant Tyler Barnett said
“shut up don't tell him that” to the other
inmate. (Id.) Plaintiff ate the food, and was found
on the floor regurgitating. (Id.) Barnett called for
assistance and helped take Plaintiff to medical on a
stretcher. (Id.) Plaintiff reported “sharp
pains in his stomach and throat, ” and believed that
“someone put something in his food to harm him.”
(Id.) Plaintiff requested that Barnett complete a
witness statement form, and Barnett agreed to do so.
(Id.) Plaintiff explained to Captain Ward and Chief
Deathrage that the Crips gang had assaulted and extorted
money from him, and that “someone put something in his
food.” (Id.) Plaintiff requested to speak to
internal affairs and STG Coordinator Inman, but they had left
for the weekend. (Id.) Emergency medical services