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Johnson v. Parker

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

June 12, 2018

ANTONIO JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
TONY PARKER, et al., Defendants.

          AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION

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

         Antonio Johnson, an inmate at the Turney Center Industrial Complex (“TCIX”) in Clifton, Tennessee, filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Tony Parker, Kevin Genovese, Jason Clendenion, CERT Team Member Holland [F/N/U], CERT Team Commander Dickson [F/N/U], and John Doe. Plaintiff also filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. No. 2.)

         I. Application to Proceed as a Pauper

         The 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 must nonetheless pay the $350.00 filing fee, so the fee will be assessed as directed in the accompanying Order. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).

         II. Initial Review

         The 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)).

         A. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff alleges that on July 17, 2017, Defendant Dickson slammed his face into a wall, knocking out Plaintiff's upper front teeth and chipping two of Plaintiff's bottom teeth. (Doc. No. 1 at 2.) Defendant Holland shot Plaintiff with a taser five times while he was handcuffed on the ground. (Id.) Holland told Plaintiff he would “kill [Plaintiff] if [they were] on the streets, you black funk [sic].” (Id.) Defendant Clendenion was present, but did not intervene. (Id.) Following this incident, Plaintiff was placed in segregation and did not receive treatment from a dentist for one week. (Id.) After “several” visits, the dentist informed Plaintiff that Defendant Genovese would not approve the cost of fixing his teeth, and would not allow him to “go to special needs for medical treatment.” (Id.)

         Defendants Holland, Dickson, and Clendenion also forced Plaintiff to stand “outside on the black top bare footed in 90 degree temperature, ” burning Plaintiff's feet and causing him “serious pain.” (Id.) For seven days, the defendants withheld Plaintiff's property, did not allow him to take a shower or have outside recreation, and did not process his grievances. (Id.) Clendenion “put out the word to his staff not to allow[ Plaintiff] to call [his] family.” (Id.) Meanwhile, Dickson and Holland continually ridiculed Plaintiff for having missing teeth. (Id.)

         B. Standard of Review

         To determine whether a prisoner's complaint “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted” under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court applies the same standard as under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). The Court therefore accepts “all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, [and] ‘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 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009)). An assumption of truth does not, however, extend to allegations that consist of legal conclusions or “‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). A pro se pleading must be liberally construed and “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         C. Discussion

         “To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must set forth facts that, when construed favorably, establish (1) the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States (2) caused by a person acting under the color of state law.” Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Sigley v. City of Parma Heights, 437 F.3d 527, 533 (6th Cir. 2006)).

         1. Dismissal of ...


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