United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
CHRISTOPHER B. HILLARD, Plaintiff,
KNOX COUNTY JAIL, KNOX COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, and KNOX COUNTY COURTS, Defendants.
A. VARLAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff, Christopher B. Hillard, brought this action on
April 13, 2018, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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 will be DISMISSED based on
Plaintiff's failure to state a claim up on which relief
may be granted.
SCREENING THE COMPLAINT
the PLRA, district courts must screen prisoner complaints and
shall, at any time, dismiss sua sponte any claims
that are frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim for
relief, or are against a defendant who is immune. See,
e.g., 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915(A);
Benson v. O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014 (6th Cir.
1999). The dismissal standard articulated by the United
States Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662 (2009), and in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544 (2007), “governs dismissals for failure
state a claim under [28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) 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). Thus, to survive an
initial review under the PLRA, a complaint “must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Courts liberally construe
pro se pleadings filed in civil rights cases and
hold them to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
order to state 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. Braley
v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990)
(stating that “Section 1983 . . . creates a right of
action for the vindication of constitutional guarantees found
complaint, Plaintiff complains that his arrest and charges
were made public and have tarnished his reputation in the
community [Doc. 1 p. 4]. He asserts that “[t]he
government should be responsible for clearing our names as it
is to ruining our names” [Id.]. He believes
that “[p]eople's charges should not be made public
until they are found guilty” and by publicizing his
charges, Defendants have violated his due process
further complains about the conditions of Knox County Jail
[Id. at 5]. He complains that for two-and-a-half
days he was without a bed or change of clothes and unable to
take a shower [Id.]. After booking, Plaintiff
complains that he was placed in a one-man cell for four days
with another inmate and forced to eat his meals in the small
cell near the toilet [Id.].
Plaintiff complains that Knox County Jail has no law library,
no face-to-face visitation with family, and houses all
classification of inmates together [Id.]. Knox
County Jail also charges inmates tax on commissary items, to
make phone calls, and to transfer money into their trust fund
accounts [Id.]. Plaintiff asserts that Knox County
jail limits inmates recreation time to either four hours or
one hour per day [Id.].
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants published information
concerning his arrest via the internet that has violated his
Constitutional right for due process [Doc. 1 p. 4]. Plaintiff
contends that the publication of his arrest information
suggests he is guilty when he has not yet been found guilty
of any crime.
extent Plaintiff intends to assert a procedural due process
claim, it is subject to dismissal. To state a claim for
denial of procedural due process, Plaintiff must plead and
prove either that he was deprived of liberty or property as a
result of an established state procedure that itself violates
due process rights; or that the defendants deprived him of
liberty or property pursuant to a random and unauthorized act
and available state remedies would not be adequate to redress
the deprivation. Macene v. MJW, Inc., 951 F.2d 700,
706 (6th Cir. 1991); see Vicory v. Walton, 721 F.2d
1062, 1064 (6th Cir. 1983). Under this standard, Plaintiff
must first establish that he was deprived of a protected
liberty or property interest. Macene, 951 F.2d at
706. The Supreme Court has recognized a limited liberty
interest “where a person's good name, reputation,
honor, or integrity is at stake because of what the
government is doing to him.” Board of Regents v.
Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 573 (1972). See also Med. Corp.,
Inc. v. City of Lima, 296 F.3d 404, 413-14 (6th Cir.
2002). Injury to reputation alone, however, is not sufficient
to create a constitutionally protected liberty interest.
Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693, 701 (1976). Here,
although Plaintiff alleges he was stigmatized by the
dissemination of his arrest information, he failed to show
that any Defendant also deprived him of a state created right
substantive due process claim is also subject to dismissal.
Due process claims of this nature involve official acts which
cause a deprivation of a substantive fundamental right, or
are so egregious that they “shock the
conscience.” Mertik v. Blalock, 983 F.2d 1353,
1367 (6th Cir. 1993). The conduct asserted must be “so
severe, so disproportionate to the need presented, and such
an abuse of authority as to transcend the bounds of ordinary
tort law and establish a deprivation of constitutional
Sixth Circuit has found an individual has no constitutional
right to privacy in the criminal record pertaining to him.
See Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 440 (6th Cir.
2008) (finding Court Clerk's publication of arrest
records including social security numbers and birth dates did
not implicate a constitutional right of privacy, even when
plaintiff became the victim of identity theft as a result of
the publication). Here, Plaintiff has not alleged facts to
suggest the government's publication of his arrest
violated a fundamental right protected by the Constitution.
There is no general fundamental right of informational
privacy, and ...