United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Winchester
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
L. COLLIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a pro se prisoner's complaint filed under 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 proceed only as to Plaintiff's claim that
Bedford County has a policy of denying inmates any
opportunities for recreation that has violated
Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights. All other claims
will be DISMISSED.
the PLRA, district courts must screen prisoner complaints and
shall, at any time, 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 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, 520 (1972).
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
ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINT
jail is overpopulated, inmates are being held in blocks at
twice the operating capacity, and there are as many inmates
on the floor as on bunks (Doc. 2 p. 3-4). Also, some inmates
were sent to the block without a mat to sleep on, clothes,
shoes, or a hygiene pack. (Id. at 4). Inmates also
“are not allowed any recreation time” and are not
allowed out of the cell block except at meal times
(Id.). Further, the jail has unsanitary living
conditions, including mold in the bathroom, a bug and rat
problem, and exposed wiring (Id.). Inmates are not
fed enough daily (Id.).
nothing in Plaintiff's complaint allows the Court to
plausibly infer that Plaintiff has been adversely affected by
the alleged overpopulation at the jail or denied a mat,
clothes, shoes, or hygiene items such that it may have
violated his constitutional rights in any way, and Plaintiff
lacks standing to assert the constitutional rights of other
prisoners. Newsom v Norris, 888 F.2d 371, 381 (6th
Cir. 1989). As such, these allegations fail to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted under § 1983.
as to Plaintiff's allegation that the jail does not feed
inmates enough, Plaintiff has not set forth any allegation
that allows the Court to plausibly infer that the alleged
lack of food has affected him in any way. As such, this
allegation fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted under § 1983. See Cunningham v. Jones,
567 F.2d 653, 659-60 (6th Cir. 1977) (providing that where a
prisoner's diet is sufficient to sustain the
prisoner's good health, no constitutional right has been
Plaintiff's allegations regarding the conditions at the
jail, accepted as true, do not allow the Court to plausibly
infer that those conditions have violated Plaintiff's
constitutional rights. “[T]he Constitution does not
mandate comfortable prisons.” Rhodes v.
Chapman 452 U.S. 337, 349 (1981). Only “extreme
deprivations” that deny a prisoner “‘the
minimal civilized measure of life's necessities”
will establish a conditions of confinement claim. Hudson
v. McMillan, 503 U.S. 1, 8-9 (1992) (citations and
quotations omitted). Prison authorities may not, however,
“ignore a condition of confinement that is sure or very
likely to cause serious illness and needless suffering the
next week or month or year.” Helling v.
McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 33 (1993). In examining such
claims, the court must determine whether the risk of which
the plaintiff complains is “so grave that it violates
contemporary standards of decency to expose anyone
unwillingly to such a risk. In other words, the prisoner must
show that the risk of which he complains is not one that
today's society chooses to tolerate.” Id.
at 36 (1993); see also Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 347.
in the complaint suggests that the alleged mold, bugs and
rats, or exposed wiring creates an unreasonable risk of
damage to Plaintiff's health or any other extreme
deprivation. Accordingly, these allegations fail to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted under § 1983.
Plaintiff's assertion that the inmates at the jail do not
receive any recreation time and are only allowed out of their
cells for meals allows the Court to plausibly infer that
Bedford County may have a policy of denying inmates,
including Plaintiff, adequate recreation time in violation of
Plaintiff's rights under the Eighth Amendment, however,
this claim will proceed.