United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Walker, an inmate at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center
in Hartsville, Tennessee, filed this pro se civil
rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Jessica
Garner and Johnathan Topper. (Doc. No. 1.) He also filed an
application to proceed in this Court without prepaying fees
and costs. (Doc. No. 2.) The complaint is before the Court
for an initial screening, as required by the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”).
Application to Proceed as a Pauper
Plaintiff has now paid the filing fee (Doc. No. 7), his
application to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. No.
2) will be denied as moot.
the PLRA, the Court must screen 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 from a
defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A; 42
U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1). The Court must also construe a
pro se complaint liberally, United States v.
Smotherman, 838 F.3d 736, 739 (6th Cir. 2016) (citing
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)), and
accept the factual allegations as true unless they are
entirely without credibility. Thomas v. Eby, 481
F.3d 434, 437 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992)).
alleges that he had a disciplinary hearing set for October
10, 2018, and that his designated “inmate
advisor” was fellow inmate Herman Phillips. (Doc. No. 1
at 5-6.) The day before the scheduled hearing, Phillips
informed Plaintiff that the hearing was rescheduled for
October 11. (Id.) Plaintiff reported to the
Disciplinary Board for his hearing at 7:30 A.M. on October
11. (Id.) At that point, an unnamed inmate advisor
told Plaintiff that his hearing was, in fact, held on October
10. (Id.) Plaintiff presented his “pass”
to the inmate advisor, who took the pass to Defendant Garner,
a sergeant and disciplinary chairman at Trousdale Turner.
(Id.) The inmate advisor then relayed to Plaintiff
Garner's statement that she “found [Plaintiff]
guilty already, ” and that Plaintiff would “need
to raise that on appeal.” (Id.)
alleges that Garner had an inmate advisor named Perry Kirkman
present on October 10 “to move farther with
[Plaintiff's] disciplinary hearing” without
Plaintiff present. (Id.) Kirkman did not
“complete the investigation of [Plaintiff's]
allegations or claims, ” nor did he “prepare for
[Plaintiff's] defense.” (Id. at 5-6.)
According to Plaintiff, his “Class A”
disciplinary charge should have been dismissed because
another inmate named “Dean Shawn” accepted
responsibility for it. (Id. at 6.) But because
Plaintiff was not present at the hearing, he could not
present this defense. (Id.) Plaintiff also alleges
that his October 10 hearing took place without a 24-hour
Johnathan Topper is a Captain at Trousdale Turner.
(Id.) At the October 10 hearing, Plaintiff alleges,
Defendant Garner allowed Topper “to testify as the
employee when in actuality he did not witness
anything.” (Id.) The disciplinary conviction
“had an outcome [on Plaintiff's] parole hearing,
” resulted in “a higher custody level”
placement for eighteen months, and led to Plaintiff being
restricted from seeing his family for three months.
requests the expungement of his disciplinary conviction,
another disciplinary hearing, and another parole hearing.
(Id. at 7.)
Standard of Review
determine whether a prisoner's complaint “fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted” under the
PLRA, 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)).