United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, DENYING MOTION FOR
DISCOVERY (ECF NO. 7), CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE
TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
August 17, 2018, Plaintiff Nichole Turner, who is currently
incarcerated at the Obion County Jail in Union City,
Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) The complaint concerns
his previous confinement at the Madison County Criminal
Justice Complex (CJC) in Jackson, Tennessee. The Court issued
an order on August 22, 2018, granting leave to proceed in
forma pauperis and assessing the civil filing fee
pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 4.) Turner sues Amy
Franks, a Nurse Practitioner at the CJC, and Quality Health
alleges that he has put in several sick-call requests with
Nurse Franks about pain in his left hand and a bump on his
neck. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) Franks allegedly examined
Turner only once and did not give him pain medication.
(Id.) Turner alleges that Franks cancelled his
request for a second opinion by a different nurse
practitioner or doctor. (Id.) Turner lists twelve
different dates on which he requested, but was denied, a
medical visit. (Id. at PageID 3.) Turner did,
however, receive an x-ray in May 2018. (Id.) He
also alleges that his requests to view his medical records
were denied. (Id.) Turner seeks $20 million in
compensatory damages. (Id. at PageID 4.)
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
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))).
filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
redress . . . .
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two
elements: (1) a deprivation of rights secured by the
“Constitution and laws” of the United States (2)
committed by a defendant acting under color of state law.
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 150
Turner's complaint, it appears that Quality Health Care
is a private company providing medical services for prisoners
at the CJC and Nurse Franks's employer. “A private
corporation that performs the traditional state function of
operating a prison acts under color of state law for purposes
of § 1983.” Thomas v. Coble, 55 Fed.Appx.
748, 748 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Street v. Corr. Corp. of
Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir. 1996)). The Sixth
Circuit has applied the standards for assessing municipal
liability to claims against private corporations that operate
prisons or provide medical care or food services to
prisoners. Id. at 748-49; Street, 102 F.3d
at 817-18; Johnson v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 26
Fed.Appx. 386, 388 (6th Cir. 2001); see also Eads v.
State of Tenn., No. 1:18-cv-00042, 2018 WL 4283030, at
*9 (M.D. Tenn. Sept. 7, 2018). To prevail on a § 1983
claim against Quality Health Care, therefore, Turner
“must show that a policy or well-settled custom of the
company was the ‘moving force' behind the alleged
deprivation” o f his righ t s . Braswell v. Corr.
Corp. of Am., 419 Fed.Appx. 622, 627 (6th Cir. 2011).
has not alleged that a policy or custom of Quality Health
Care was the “moving force” behind the alleged
violation of his constitutional rights. In fact, he states no
allegations at all against Quality Health Care and directs
his allegations only at ...