United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Hill, an inmate in the custody of the Davidson County
Sheriff's Office in Nashville, Tennessee, filed this pro
se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against f/n/u Rickman and the Davidson County Sheriff's
Office. (Doc. No. 1).
complaint is before the Court for an initial review pursuant
to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
PLRA Screening Standard
the PLRA, the Court must conduct an initial review of any
civil complaint brought by a prisoner if it is filed in forma
pauperis, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), seeks relief from
government entities or officials, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, or
challenges the prisoner's conditions of confinement. 42
U.S.C. § 1997e(c). Upon conducting this review, the
Court must dismiss the complaint, or any portion thereof,
that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,
is frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who
is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)
and 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Sixth Circuit has
confirmed that the dismissal standard articulated by the
Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. (2009),
and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), “governs
dismissals for failure to state a claim under those statutes
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 scrutiny on
initial review, “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). “A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
reviewing the complaint to determine whether it states a
plausible claim, “a district court must (1) view the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and
(2) take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.”
Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d
478, 488 (6th Cir.2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin,
551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir.2009) (citations omitted)). A pro
se pleading must be liberally construed and “held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
Section 1983 Standard
42 U.S.C. § 1983 creates a cause of action against any
person who, acting under color of state law, abridges
“rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws . . . .” To state a claim under
Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege and show two elements:
(1) that he was deprived of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the
deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of
state law. Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543,
549 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Sigley v. City of
Panama Heights, 437 F.3d 527, 533 (6th Cir.
2006)); 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
complaint alleges that, while in the custody of the Davidson
County Sheriff's Office, Plaintiff was placed in a cold
cell called “the stupid box” on April 8, 2019
after being charged with an assault on another inmate. (Doc.
No. 1 at 5). Plaintiff was not provided with a blanket or
mat. Overnight, he became so cold that he “had to lay
on the floor under the metal bunk to try and warm up.”
(Id.) Plaintiff was confined in the stupid box for
at least twelve hours. The charge against Plaintiff was later
dismissed, and the complaint alleges that Plaintiff was
placed in “that cold box for no reason.”
(Id.) The complaint seeks compensation for
Plaintiff's pain and suffering and mental anguish for
“lack of sleep and laying on metal bunk and concrete
floor.” (Id. at 6).
complaint names only two Defendants: f/n/u Rickman in his
individual capacity and the Davidson County Sheriff's
other than being listed as a Defendant, f/n/u Rickman is not
mentioned in the narrative of the complaint or anywhere else
in the complaint. (See Doc. No. 1 at 5). A plaintiff must
identify the right or privilege that was violated and the
role of the defendant in the alleged violation. Miller v.
Calhoun Cnty., 408 F.3d 803, 827 n.3 (6th Cir. 2005); Dunn v.
Tenn., 697 F.2d 121, 128 (6th Cir. 1982). Because Plaintiff
does not allege the personal involvement of f/n/u Rickman in
the events set forth in the complaint, Plaintiff has not
established a basis for imposing individual liability on this
Defendant. See Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371 (1976);
Heyerman v. Cnty. of Calhoun, 680 F.3d 642, 647 (6th Cir.
2012). Thus, Plaintiff's claims against f/n/u Rickman
must be dismissed.
also names the Davidson County Sheriff's Office as a
Defendant. The law is clear that a sheriff's office is
not an entity that may be sued under § 1983. Matthews v.
Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir.1994); see Mathes v.
Metro. Gov't of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., No. 3:10-
cv-0496, 2010 WL 3341889, at **2-3 (M.D. Tenn. Aug. 25, 2010)
(noting that “since Matthews, federal district courts
in Tennessee have frequently and uniformly held that police
departments and sheriff's departments are not proper
parties to a § 1983 suit” under Tennessee law, and
therefore granting the motion to dismiss the § 1983
claim against the Davidson County Sheriff's Office); see
also Harding v. Davidson Cnty. Sheriff's Office, No.
3:13-cv-0449, 2013 WL 2178029, at *3 (M.D. Tenn. May 20,
2013) (explaining that the Sheriff's Office is a division
of the Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County but is not
itself a separate ...