United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
L. COLLIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court is in receipt of a complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 filed by pro se Plaintiff Florretta-Amy Lebeau (Doc. 1).
The matter is now before the Court for screening of the
complaint pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”). For the reasons set forth below, this
action shall proceed to service.
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”),
district courts must screen prisoner complaints and sua
sponte dismiss those that are frivolous or malicious,
fail to state a claim for relief, or are against a defendant
who is immune. See, e.g., Benson v.
O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014 (6th Cir. 1999). In screening
this complaint, the Court bears in mind that pro se pleadings
filed in civil rights cases must be liberally construed and
held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972). Still, the pleading must be sufficient “to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face,
” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
570 (2007), which simply means that the factual content pled
by a plaintiff must permit a court “to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged, ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). The “facial plausibility” standard does not
require “detailed factual allegations, but it demands
more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Id. at 678 (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted). The standard articulated
in Twombly and Iqbal “governs
dismissals for failure to state a claim under [28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A] because the relevant
statutory language tracks the language in Rule
12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468,
470-71 (6th Cir. 2010).
order to succeed on a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must establish that he was deprived of a federal
right by a person acting under color of state law.
Haywood v. Drown, 556 U.S. 729, 731 (2009);
Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Svcs., 555 F.3d 543, 549
(6th Cir. 2009); see also Braley v. City of Pontiac,
906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990) (stating that
“Section 1983 does not itself create any constitutional
rights; it creates a right of action for the vindication of
constitutional guarantees found elsewhere”).
complaint concerns events that occurred during four separate
periods and at four separate location: (1) her incarceration
at the Dallas County Jail in Dallas, Texas; (2) her three-day
transportation via bus from Texas to Kentucky; (3) her
three-day incarceration in the Christian County Jail in
Kentucky; and (4) her incarceration in the Bradley County
Jail in Tennessee (Doc. 2). She has sued various individual
and entities from all four locations, alleging that she was
deliberately beaten and injured without justification,
wrongfully kept in isolation, and denied adequate medical
care for Hepatitis C and HIV (id.).
OFFICIAL CAPACITY CLAIMS
has named Bradley County Jail officers Elizabeth Parks, Lt.
Parker, and Deputy Campbell and officer Louis Garert from the
Dallas County Jail as Defendants in this action both in their
individual and official capacities. She also names the
officers present during transport, Corey Abram, Zimmerman, J.
Jones, and Garcia in their individual and official
capacities, along with Bradley County Jail and Christian
against a defendant in his or her official capacity is
treated as an action against the governmental entity the
officer represents. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S.
159, 166 (1985) (holding “an official-capacity suit is,
in all respects other than name, to be treated as a suit
against the entity”); see, e.g., Hafer v.
Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 25 (1991); Barber v. City of
Salem, 953 F.2d 232, 237 (6th Cir. 1992). In an action
against a state officer acting in an official capacity,
“the plaintiff seeks damages not from the individual
officer, but from the entity from which the officer is an
agent.” Pusey v. City of Youngstown, 11 F.3d
652, 657 (6th Cir. 1993).
Elizabeth Parks, Lt. Parker, and Campbell were all employees
at the Bradley County Jail at all relevant times to the
current action and Louis Garert was an officer of Dallas
County Jail. Therefore, Plaintiff's official capacity
claims are brought against those Defendants in their official
capacities as Bradley County and Dallas County employees.
Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
690 n.55 (1978) (“[O]fficial-capacity suits generally
represent only another way of pleading an action against an
entity of which an officer is an agent.”). Thus, the
Court construes the allegations against these Defendants in
their official capacities as against Bradley County and
Bradley County and Dallas County are considered a
“person” within the meaning of section 1983 and
can be sued directly if it causes a constitutional violation
through “a policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or
decision officially adopted and promulgated by that
body's officers.” Monell, 436 U.S. at 690.
Plaintiff must show that his alleged injury was caused by an
unconstitutional policy or custom of the municipality.
See, Stemler v. City of Florence, 126 F.3d 856, 865
(6th Cir. 1997), citing Pembaur v. City of
Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 480‒81 (1986). Liberally
construing the complaint, Plaintiff has stated enough at this
stage of litigation to allege that Bradley and Dallas County
has an unconstitutional policy or custom regarding the
treatment of inmates that has directly affected Plaintiff.
Accordingly, the Clerk will be DIRECTED to
DISMISS Defendants Elizabeth Parks, Lt.
Parker, Campbell and Louis Garert in their official
capacities and to ADD Bradley County and
Dallas County as Defendants in this matter.
Defendants Bradley County Jail and Christian County Jail are
non-suable entities and will be DISMISSED.
Jails are not legal entities to be sued under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983; rather, it is merely a name assigned to the
building which houses inmates. Defendants Bradley County Jail
and Christian County Jail are not municipalities but
buildings and, as such, are not a separate legal entity which
can be sued. Therefore, Defendants Bradley County Jail and
Christian County Jail are not “persons” within
the meaning of § 1983. Shoemaker v. Greene County
“Jail” Detention Center, 2007 WL 2159295
(E.D. Tenn. July 26, 2007) (“The Greene County
“Jail” Detention Center is a building and not a
“person” who can be sued under §
1983.”); Seals v. Grainger County Jail, 2005
WL 1076326 (E.D. Tenn. May 6, 2005) (“The Grainger
County Jail, however, is not a suable entity within the
meaning of § 1983”). Accordingly, because
Defendants Bradley County Jail and Christian County Jail are
not suable entities, they will be DISMISSED.
has also named the “Unknown Federal Transport
Service” as a Defendant, along with Officers Corey
Abram, Zimmerman, J. Jones, and Garcia, who were all officers
present during transporting Plaintiff to different
facilities. The Court can reasonable infer that these
officers are employees of the “Unknown Federal
Transport Service”, and thus, based on the law outline
above, any claim against these Defendant officers in their
official capacities is essentially against the “Unknown
Federal Transport Service.” However, unlike the
Defendant officers listed above, Plaintiff failed to assert
any unconstitutional policy or custom against the
“Unknown Federal Transport Service.” Nor can the
Court liberally construe any facts provided in
Plaintiff's complaint as a policy or custom of the
“Unknown Federal Transport Service.” Thus,
Plaintiff failed to state a claim against Defendant the
“Unknown Federal Transport Service” or Officers