United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Cookeville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion to Certify Class
(Doc. No. 12) and Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for
Failure to State a Claim and for Lack of Jurisdiction (Doc.
is a male citizen who, at the times relevant to this action,
was incarcerated in the White County, Tennessee jail.
Defendant Benningfield was the White County General Sessions
Judge. Defendant Shoupe was the White County Sheriff, and
Defendant Donna Daniels was a White County Deputy Sheriff.
White County, Tennessee, is a political subdivision of
Tennessee that operates the White County Sheriff's
alleges that, on May 15, 2017, Defendant Benningfield issued
a “Standing Order” providing, among other things,
that any White County male inmate serving a sentence for the
General Sessions Court who had a free vasectomy would be
given a thirty-day credit on his sentence (Doc. No.
1-1). Plaintiff claims that this Standing Order
violated both the United States and the Tennessee
Constitutions, and he seeks declaratory relief, punitive
damages and attorneys' fees. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendants Shoupe and Daniels impermissibly encouraged all
male inmates to have the vasectomy procedure in exchange for
a thirty-day sentence reduction. Plaintiff did not have the
Plaintiff does not include this relevant fact, on July 26,
2017, Defendant Benningfield issued a Supplemental Order
titled “Order Rescinding Previous Standing Order”
that purported to rescind the May 15, 2017 Standing Order
(Doc. No. 13-1). The Court may take judicial notice of this
Order because it relates directly to - indeed, it rescinds -
the Standing Order challenged by Plaintiff in this
1, 2018, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law
Senate Bill 2133, which expressly forbids conditioning the
length of any criminal sentence on the defendant's
submitting to any form of temporary or permanent birth
control, sterilization or family planning services. (Doc. No.
50-2). Therefore, the alleged misconduct is now illegal by
statute. This action is one of four in this Court challenging
the constitutionality of Defendant Benningfield's Orders
and the actions of White County officials in response
have moved to dismiss the Complaint for lack of jurisdiction
and for failure to state a claim for which relief may be
granted. For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the Court must
take all of the factual allegations in the complaint as true.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). To
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face. Id. 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. Threadbare recitals of the elements of
a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,
do not suffice. Id. When there are well-pleaded
factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and
then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief. Id. at 1950. A legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation need not be
accepted as true on a motion to dismiss, nor are recitations
of the elements of a cause of action sufficient. Fritz v.
Charter Township of Comstock, 592 F.3d 718, 722 (6th
III of the United States Constitution limits the jurisdiction
of federal courts to hear only actual cases and
controversies. U.S. Const. art. 3, § 2; Lyshe v.
Levy, 854 F.3d 855, 857 (6thCir. 2017). The
doctrine of standing aids in defining these limits. The
plaintiff has the burden of establishing standing.
Id. To establish Article III standing, a plaintiff
must show: (1) an injury in fact; (2) a sufficient causal
connection between the injury and the conduct complained of;
and (3) a likelihood that the injury will be redressed by a
favorable decision. List v. Driehaus, 134 S.Ct.
2334, 2341 (2014). An injury sufficient to satisfy Article
III must be concrete and particularized and actual or
imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical. Id. An
allegation of future injury may suffice if the threatened
injury is certainly impending or there is a substantial risk
that the harm will occur. Id. A plaintiff must
establish that he has a personal stake in the outcome of the
controversy. Lyshe, 854 F.3d at 857. Whether a party
has standing is an issue of the court's subject matter
argue that Plaintiff was not injured as a result of Judge
Benningfield's Orders and there is no future injury
imminent. Plaintiff did not receive the offered vasectomy.
Plaintiff argues that the Standing Order subjected him to an
additional thirty days in jail because he was unwilling to
get a vasectomy. That characterization is misleading.
Plaintiff's sentence was not increased if he did
not get the procedure. Under the Standing Order, failure to
get a vasectomy did not change an inmate's sentence;
rather, getting the procedure entitled the inmate to a
credit toward his sentence. In other words,
Plaintiff did not serve longer than he was originally
sentenced because he did not agree to a vasectomy. His claim
actually concerns whether the alleged denial of a sentence
credit violated his constitutional rights. Plaintiff
has not shown the existence of a constitutional right to a
event, the challenged behavior has stopped. As to any present
or future injury, Plaintiff's claim is moot. As noted
above, the Standing Order has been rescinded such that it is
no longer in effect, and the General Assembly in Tennessee
has now made it illegal to condition the length of
someone's sentence based upon willingness to undergo
birth control or sterilization procedures. Plaintiff has not
identified an injury that can be remedied by this Court.
There is no risk of imminent injury and, therefore, no
standing for Plaintiff to bring this action.
asks the Court to declare the Standing Order and Order
Rescinding Previous Standing Order unconstitutional. The
conduct addressed by those Orders is stopped and is now
prohibited by state law. The Court finds it unnecessary and
also imprudent to determine the constitutionality of Orders
that are no longer in effect and which cannot legally be
enforced. Jones ...