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Vaughn v. State

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

May 14, 2019

BRIAN VAUGHN, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE, SHERIFF BILL ODOM, C. OFFICER PERKINS, SGT. BUNNET, Defendants.

          ORDER TO MODIFY THE DOCKET, DISMISSING COMPLAINT, CERTIFYING THAT AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH, DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS, AND GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND

          THOMAS L. PARKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Brian Vaughn, an inmate at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center (“SCCJC”) in Memphis, Tennessee, sued pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and moved to proceed in forma pauperis. (Complaint (“Comp.”) ECF No. 1; Motion, ECF No. 2.) The Court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (Order, ECF No. 5.) The Clerk is ORDERED to record the defendants as the State of Tennessee; Bill Oldham, Sheriff of Shelby County;[1] Corrections Officer (“C/O”) First Name Unknown (“FNU”) Perkins; and Sergeant FNU Bunnet.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that another inmate protested the lack of attention from guards by throwing bags of feces and urine out of his security flap. (Comp., ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) Plaintiff's face and clothes were covered in the waste. (Id.) Officers refused to supply him a change of clothes or provide medical attention.[2] (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that officers only allowed him to shower and forced him to wash his clothes with hand soap in his sink. (Id.) He reported the issue and was moved to a different pod. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks unspecified compensatory damages. (Id. at PageID 3.)

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         I. Screening Requirements Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         The Court must screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion of it, if the complaint-

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         The Court first determines whether the complaint states a claim for relief by applying the standards under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). With that in mind, the Court accepts the complaint's “well-pleaded” factual allegations as true and then determines whether the allegations “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)). Of note, conclusory allegations “are not entitled to the assumption of truth” because they are not “factual” and legal conclusions “must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 also provides guidance on this issue.

         That rule requires a complaint to contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 n.3 (2007). But it also requires factual allegations to make a “‘showing,' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Id.

         Courts conducting the screening analysis accord slightly more deference to pro se complaints than to those drafted by lawyers. “Pro se complaints are to be held ‘to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,' and should therefore be liberally construed.” Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v. Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). That said, pro se litigants are not exempt from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989); see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 Fed.Appx. 608, 612, 613 (6th Cir. 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro se complaint for failure to comply with “unique pleading requirements” and stating “a court cannot ‘create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading'” (quoting Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975))).

         II. Requirements to State a Claim Under 42 ...


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