United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
JAMES L. SPURGEON III, Plaintiff,
MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT/JAIL, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. VARLAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pro se complaint, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, is
before the Court for screening pursuant to the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”).
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. 554 (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 which are not
supported by specific facts are insufficient to state a
plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 681 (2009).
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
alleges that he was housed at the Monroe County Jail from
October 25, 2015, until May 25, 2016 [Doc. 1 p. 1].
Thereafter, he was housed at the Blount County Jail until
June 6, 2016 [Id. p. 5]. Plaintiff maintains that
the conditions at the Monroe County Jail and Blount County
Jail were unsanitary, and that he had mold in his cell [Doc.
1 p. 1]. Shortly after his release, Plaintiff became sick and
had to undergo surgery for a collapsed lung, a heart
infection, and kidney failure [Id. p. 2]. Plaintiff
asserts that his physician advised him that his illness was
caused by group A Strep, which he likely caught while
Plaintiff's complaint liberally and accepting his
allegations as true, the Court finds that Plaintiff may,
after an opportunity to conduct discovery, be able to state a
viable claim for unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
However, neither sheriff's offices nor jails are entities
subject to suit under § 1983. See Matthews v.
Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994) (holding that
a county police department was not an entity which may be
sued). Because Plaintiff's complaint allows the Court to
plausibly infer that the Monroe and/or Blount County Jails
subjected him to constitutionally inadequate living
conditions due to a custom or policy, however, the Court will
liberally construe his claim as against Monroe County and
Blount County and allow this case to proceed against those
reasons set forth above:
Clerk is DIRECTED to terminate Defendant
Monroe County Sheriff's Department/Jail and substitute
Monroe County as a Defendant in this matter;
Clerk is DIRECTED to add Blount County as a