United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
RICHARDSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
David Fletcher, proceeding pro se, brings a civil
complaint asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
state law against a private attorney, his client, a former
officer with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department,
and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department. Because
Plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, the complaint
is before the court for an initial review.
Standard of Review
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court must conduct an
initial review of any complaint filed in forma
pauperis and dismiss it if it is frivolous or malicious,
fails to state a claim for which relief may be granted, or
seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
such relief. The Sixth Circuit has confirmed that the
dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007),
“governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under
[that statute] 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).
in 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, 561F.3d
478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v.
Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations
omitted)). The court must then consider whether those factual
allegations, accepted as true, “plausibly suggest an
entitlement to relief.” Williams v. Curtin,
631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 681). A “pro se complaint . . .
must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Even under this lenient
standard, pro se plaintiffs must meet basic pleading
requirements. Martin v. Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 714
(6th Cir. 2004).
defendants in this case are attorney Alex Little; “con
man” Hugo Salido; Detective Gary Shannon, currently an
officer with the Springfield Police Department but previously
with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department
(“MNPD”); and the MNPD.
states that, on or around May 1, 2018, Detective Shannon
maliciously arrested him solely because of his skin color
(black) and criminal history. Although Plaintiff does not use
the words “probable cause, ” he states that
Shannon “knew very well it was a white guy that he said
he needed to arrest.” (Doc. No. 4, at 2.) Plaintiff
alleges that, following the arrest, Shannon continued to
defame and threaten him. He claims that this conduct, in
conjunction with the arrest, caused him “severe mental
and emotional stress, ” physical danger resulting from
media coverage and internet backlash, and the loss of his
job. (Doc. No. 1, at 4; Doc. No. 4, at 1.) Plaintiff does not
indicate that he was convicted on the charges brought against
alleges that Alex Little has “referred to [him] as a
criminal mastermind on behalf of his client, ” thus
causing “a wave of public and internet
humiliation.” (Doc. No. 1, at 5.)
supplemental pleading, Plaintiff alleges that Hugo Salida
also made false allegations against him that resulted in the
issuance of felony warrants and the arrest by Detective
Shannon, despite the fact that both knew that the alleged
crime was committed by a white man.
claims that, as a result of the defendants' actions, he
has had to seek medical treatment for high blood pressure
caused by stress, a mental breakdown, and PTSD. He has been
“run off the road twice by anonymous white
individuals.” (Doc. No. 1, at 6.) He seeks damages and
equitable relief for “stress, defamation of character,
slander, and racial discrimination.” (Id.)
court construes the complaint, first, as asserting claims for
violations of Plaintiff's civil rights under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. To state a colorable claim under § 1983, a
plaintiff must plead two elements: “(1) deprivation of
a right secured by the Constitution of laws of the United
States (2) caused by a person acting under color of state
law.” Hunt v. Sycamore Cmty. Sch. Dist. Bd. of
Educ., 542 F.3d 529, 534 (6th Cir. 2008) (citing
McQueen v. Beecher Cmty. Sch., 433 F.3d 460, 463
(6th Cir. 2006)).
Shannon, as a police officer employed (at the time) by the
MNPD, is a state actor for purposes of § 1983. See,
e.g., Cochran v. Gilliam, 656 F.3d 300, 305
(6th Cir. 2011) (recognizing that sheriff's deputies are
state actors). He is alleged to have arrested Plaintiff
without probable cause and to have embarked on a campaign of
harassment after that. These allegations implicate
Plaintiff's rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution. Accepting as true Plaintiff's
allegations, as the Court must in conducting this initial
review, the Court finds that ...