United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
THOMAS ANDERSON, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Craytonia Badger filed a pro se complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On November 2, 2019, the Court
ordered service of process for various defendants. Defendants
Eric Rice, Kendrick Smith, Stephen Warwick, and James Howard
have now filed a motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 24.) Plaintiff has
not responded to the motion. For the reasons set forth below,
the motion to dismiss is GRANTED.
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal
sufficiency of the complaint. RMI Titanium Co. v.
Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 78 F.3d 1125, 1134 (6th Cir.
1996). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a
pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ”
but it must contain more than “labels and
conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action....” Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A complaint
does not “suffice if it tenders ‘naked
assertions' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
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. (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). The plausibility standard
“does not impose a probability requirement at the
pleading stage; it simply calls for enough facts to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of
illegal [conduct].” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
In deciding whether the plaintiff has set forth a
“plausible” claim, the court must accept the
factual allegations in the complaint as true. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). This presumption is not
applicable to legal conclusions, however. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 668. Therefore, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
has alleged that, during a September 23, 2016 search,
Defendants used excessive force against him in violation of
his Fourteenth Amendment rights by applying handcuffs too
tightly and then later taking and holding him on the ground.
Because Plaintiff was a federal prisoner at the time of his
alleged injury, the Court has construed his complaint as one
brought under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Agents, 403
U.S. 388 (1971). (Order, ECF No. 16.) As noted by
Defendants, all of Plaintiff's claims concern events that
occurred at the West Tennessee Detention Facility
(“WTDF”) and were allegedly undertaken by
employees of WTDF while Plaintiff was in custody of the
United States Marshal Service and was being held at WTDF.
operated by the private corporation CoreCivic (formerly known
as Corrections Corporation of America or CCA), and all
defendants were employees of CCA at the time of the alleged
action must be dismissed in its entirety because the Supreme
Court has barred Bivens actions against private
corporations that operate prisons that house federal
prisoners. Corr. Servs. Corp. v. Malesko, 534 U.S.
61 (2001). Subsequent to Malesko, the Supreme Court
refused to extend Bivens to actions against the
privately employed personnel of a privately operated federal
prison. Minneci v. Pollard, 565 U.S. 118 (2012)
(holding that the availability of state tort actions is
adequate to preclude a Bivens remedy against
employees of a privately operated federal prison because
prisoners can still bring money-damages suits against those
employees). The Minneci Court explained the reason
for the distinction between defendants who are employees of
the federal government and employees of a private corporation
Prisoners ordinarily cannot bring state-law tort actions
against employees of the Federal Government. See 28
U.S.C. §§2671, 2679(b)(1) (Westfall Act)
(substituting United States as defendant in tort action
against federal employee); Osborn v. Haley, 549 U.S.
225, 238, 241 (2007) (Westfall Act immunizes federal employee
through removal and substitution of United States as
defendant). But prisoners ordinarily can bring state-law tort
actions against employees of a private firm.
Id. at 126. The court must consider whether
“state tort remedies provide roughly similar incentives
for potential defendants to comply” with the
constitutional right at issue “while also providing
roughly similar compensation to victims of violations.”
Id. at 129-30.
Minneci, courts have refused to extend
Bivens to include excessive force claims against
employees of private prison corporations when state tort law
provides a civil cause of action for assault and battery.
See, e.g., Crosby v. Martin, 502
Fed.Appx. 733 (10th Cir. 2012) (holding that a plaintiff
cannot bring a claim of excessive force against employees of
a private prison under Bivens because state law tort
remedies exist); Speed v. Wyman, 2016 WL 1720698
(N.D. Ohio April 29, 2016) (holding that excessive force
claims involve conduct which typically falls within the scope
of the traditional state tort law of assault and battery and,
thus, a plaintiff cannot bring a Bivens claim for
the use of excessive force); Johnson v. United States
Bureau of Prison, 2013 WL 1819227 (N.D. Ohio April 29,
2013) (holding that excessive force claims are analogous to
assault and battery claims and that a plaintiff cannot
therefore proceed with an excessive force claim under
Bivens against a private prison corporation
well-established that Tennessee law provides the means to
bring a civil suit for assault and battery. Thus, based on
the state law remedies available in Tennessee, Plaintiff
cannot show the lack of an “alternative, existing
process” by which he could bring suit against
Defendants to justify an expansion of Bivens.
Because Plaintiff has an adequate remedy under state tort
law, Defendants' motion to dismiss is
GRANTED, and judgment will be entered in
favor of Defendants.
IS SO ORDERED