United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
L. Collier United States District Judge.
a pro se prisoner's complaint for violation of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. This matter is now before the Court for
screening of the amended complaint pursuant to the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). For the reasons
set forth below, this action will be
the PLRA, district courts must screen prisoner complaints and
sua sponte dismiss 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 Supreme Court in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and in
Bell Atl. 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).
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, 520 (1972). Allegations that give rise to a mere
possibility that a plaintiff might later establish
undisclosed facts supporting recovery are not well-pled and
do not state a plausible claim, however. Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555, 570. Further, formulaic and conclusory
recitations of the elements of a claim that are not supported
by specific facts are insufficient to state a plausible claim
for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681
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).
complaint, Plaintiff sets forth a number of allegations
regarding the conditions of his confinement in the Knox
County Detention Center and asserts that Defendants subjected
him to cruel and unusual punishment (Doc. 2 p. 3-5). Based on
these allegations, Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief,
including a transfer and an investigation of his treatment,
as well as a change of venue for criminal charges and for a
criminal charge against him to be dropped (id. at
forth above, however, Plaintiff is no longer confined in the
Knox County Detention Center. As such, his requests for
injunctive relief are moot. Kensu v. Haigh, 87 F.3d
172, 175 (6th Cir. 1996) (holding that claims seeking
injunctive relief are moot when the prisoner is no longer in
custody of the institution that allegedly violated the
prisoner's constitutional rights). Court lack
jurisdiction over moot claims, as courts are not
“empowered to decide moot questions or abstract
propositions.” North Carolina v. Rice, 404
U.S. 244, 246 (1971).
as to Plaintiff's requests that the Court intervene in
the pending state criminal matters against him, in
Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971), the Supreme
Court held that absent extraordinary circumstances, federal
equity jurisdiction may not be used to enjoin pending state
prosecutions, as states have a special interest in enforcing
their own laws in their own courts. Id. at 44. This
rule is “designed to permit state courts to try state
cases free from interference by federal courts, particularly
where the party to the federal case may fully litigate his
claim before the state court.” Zalman v.
Armstrong, 802 F.2d 199, 205 (6th Cir. 1986) (internal
quotations omitted). As such, federal courts should abstain
from addressing a claim where: (1) a state proceeding is
ongoing; (2) an important state interest is involved; and (3)
the party has an adequate opportunity to raise his
constitutional challenges in the state proceeding.
Middlesex County Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar
Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432, (1982); Fieger v.
Thomas, 74 F.3d 740, 744 (6th Cir. 1996). As
Plaintiff's criminal proceeding is ongoing and he can
raise his arguments set forth in his complaint in that
action, Younger compels the Court to abstain from
interfering with this state criminal matter and the Court
cannot grant Plaintiff the relief he seeks under § 1983.
reasons set forth above, the Clerk will be
DIRECTED to update Plaintiff's address.
Also, even liberally construing the amended complaint in
favor of Plaintiff, it fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted under § 1983. As such, this action
will be DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915(A).
Court CERTIFIES that any appeal from this
action would not be taken in good faith and would be totally
frivolous. See Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of