United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL
WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL
IN FORMA PAUPERIS
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
December 10, 2018, Plaintiff David Walker, who is
incarcerated at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center
(TTCC) in Hartsville, Tennessee, filed a pro se
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an
application to proceed in forma pauperis in the U.S.
District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. (ECF
Nos. 1 & 2.) The complaint addresses events that
allegedly occurred during Walker's incarceration at the
Whiteville Correctional Facility (WCF) in Whiteville,
Tennessee. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) On December 21, 2018,
Chief Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr., granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis, assessed the civil filing
fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b), and transferred the case to
this Court. (ECF No. 4.) The Clerk shall record the
Defendants as WCF Warden Arvil Chapman; C. Bernard, WCF
Officer in Charge (OIC); Ellery Grier, WCF Internal Affairs
Officer; Lieutenant First Name Unknown (FNU) Neadham; A.
Walker, WCF Program Warden; FNU Walton, WCF Chief Security
Officer; and Joy Trouder, WCF Classification Coordinator.
alleges that on September 7, 2018, he and his cellmate, T.
Brown, were awoken by three officers, strip-searched, and
taken from their cell while the officers searched it. (ECF
No. 1 at PageID 8.) After the officers found nothing, Walker
and Brown returned to the cell and went back to sleep.
(Id.) When Walker awoke later that morning, he
noticed that every cell door in the pod except his was open,
and other inmates told him that a sign posted on his door
read “DO NOT OPEN AT ALL!” (Id.
(emphasis in original).) Defendant Grier later informed
Walker that his cell was on lockdown because an officer was
“caught bringing drugs in to the facility”
allegedly for Walker, Brown, and inmate D. Santiago.
(Id. at PageID 8-9.) Grier questioned Brown about
the incident, and Brown allegedly told Grier and Defendant
Bernard that everything belonged to Brown and that Walker was
uninvolved. (Id. at PageID 9.) Grier allegedly told
Walker she would move him to another cell and that Brown
would receive the charges. (Id.) Officers
drug-tested Walker, who tested negative, and Santiago, who
tested positive, but left Walker locked in his cell.
days later, on September 9, 2018, Walker remained locked in
his cell, but a sergeant removed the sign and told Walker the
WCF computers did not show Walker as having a cell
restriction. (Id.) The next day, Defendant Bernard
removed Walker from a program class and took him to a room
with Brown and Santiago. (Id.) Bernard ordered Grier
to “lock [Brown's] ass up” for admitting to
owning the drugs found earlier. (Id.) Walker alleges
that Bernard ordered Grier to leave her office so he and an
unnamed “accompli[ce]” could
“interrogate” Walker. (Id.) When Grier
refused, Bernard alleged yelled, “Fuck it then! . . .
Lock them all up until I say otherwise!” (Id.)
Walker returned to class believing “everything was
alleges that, four days later, on September 14, 2018, he was
taken from class and escorted by Defendant Neadham and
Defendant Walker first to the medical department, because of
previous surgery on his leg, then to segregation.
(Id. at PageID 9-10.) Walker asked why he was being
taken to segregation, and Neadham told him Defendant Bernard
had ordered it. (Id. at PageID 10.) Walker allegedly
was locked in the segregation's showers for four hours,
getting wet from the water dripping where other inmates had
showered earlier and “complaining about my leg.”
(Id.) On September 18, 2018, Walker received a
pending investigation disciplinary report written by Neadham.
(Id.; see also Id. at PageID 23-25.) Two
days later, Defendants Bernard and Grier visited Walker in
his cell and recorded him answering questions about the
officer who had brought drugs into the facility for Brown.
(Id. at PageID 10.) Walker protested his innocence,
but Bernard insisted that Walker knew who else may have been
involved. (Id. at PageID 10-11.) Bernard allegedly
threatened to write false disciplinary charges against Walker
that would force him to be housed in segregation and strip
him of his good-time credits and “to do all I can to
make your life pure hell.” (Id. at PageID 11.)
September 21, 2018, Walker received two disciplinary
infractions prepared by Defendant Grier ordering Walker into
segregation. (Id.; see also Id. at PageID
18-22.) Walker remained in segregation for seven days, during
which he received no personal hygiene items. (Id. at
PageID 11.) On October 2, 2018, as Defendants Walker and
Walton were inspecting the segregation unit, Plaintiff Walker
told Walton that his placement in segregation violated prison
policy. (Id.) Walton allegedly agreed but told him
it was “out of my hands, I can't help you.”
(Id.) Defendant Walker also agreed that Plaintiff
Walker should have received 24 hours' notice and assured
him she would have a disciplinary board member come by.
(Id. at PageID 12.) An inmate advisor came by the
next day and told Walker that Brown and Santiago would accept
the disciplinary charges so that Walker could be released
from segregation. (Id.) Walker, however, was not
released from segregation, and a sergeant informed him that
the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was looking into the
matter, causing the delay. (Id. at PageID 12, 14.)
On October 4, 2018, Walker was transferred from the WCF to
the TTCC without seeing a classification coordinator
(Defendant Trouder) or being given a reason for the transfer.
(Id. at PageID 14.)
asserts claims under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendments against the Defendants. (Id. at PageID
13-15.) Walker sues the Defendants in their official and
individual capacities. (Id. at PageID 2-3.) He seeks
declaratory relief, both compensatory and punitive damages
against each Defendant, and costs of his suit. (Id.
at PageID 15.)
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to
dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the
(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
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. §
assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim
on which relief may be granted, the standards under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and in Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007),
are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71
(6th Cir. 2010). 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
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681). Conclusory allegations
“are not entitled to the assumption of truth, ”
and legal conclusions “must be supported by factual
allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Although
a complaint need only contain “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), Rule 8 nevertheless
requires factual allegations to make a
“‘showing,' rather than a blanket assertion,
of entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555 n.3.
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)). Pro
se litigants, however, 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. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro
se complaint for failure to comply with “unique
pleading requirements” and stating “a court