United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL
WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF
APPELLATE FILING FEE
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
January 23, 2017, Plaintiff Joseph Daniel Huntley, who at
that time was incarcerated at the West Tennessee Detention
Facility (WTDF) in Mason, Tennessee, filed a pro se
complaint on the form used for commencing actions pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion to proceed in forma
pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) The Court issued an
order on January 25, 2017, granting leave to proceed in
forma pauperis and assessing the civil filing fee
pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 4.) The Clerk shall
record the Defendants as WTDF Health Administrator Robert
Dennis Preston and Dr. Naved Gill, a physician at the WTDF.
is a paraplegic. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) His complaint
alleges that during his detention at WTDF, he was
hospitalized for hip fractures, wounds inflicted by prison
staff, and twice for sepsis. (Id.) Huntley further
alleges that prison staff have denied him medication and sick
call visits with a physician. (Id.) Huntley claims
he has filled two notebooks documenting the failures of
prison staff to meet his needs, including leaving him to lie
in his own feces for days at a time. (Id.)
Huntley's complaint requests release on bond so that he
can receive outside medical care and compensation for his
pain and suffering. (Id. at 3.)
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to
dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. §
assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim
on which relief may be granted, the standards under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and in Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007),
are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71
(6th Cir. 2010). The Court accepts the complaint's
“well-pleaded” factual allegations as true and
then determines whether the allegations “plausibly
suggest an entitlement to relief.'” Williams v.
Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681). Conclusory allegations
“are not entitled to the assumption of truth, ”
and legal conclusions “must be supported by factual
allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Although
a complaint need only contain “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), Rule 8 nevertheless
requires factual allegations to make a
“‘showing,' rather than a blanket assertion,
of entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555 n.3.
se complaints are to be held ‘to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,' and
should therefore be liberally construed.”
Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v.
Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Pro
se litigants, however, are not exempt from the
requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989);
see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 Fed.Appx. 608, 612,
613 (6th Cir. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro
se complaint for failure to comply with “unique
pleading requirements” and stating “a court
cannot ‘create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not
spelled out in his pleading'” (quoting Clark v.
Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169
(6th Cir. 1975))).
WTDF is a facility operated by a private prison corporation,
CoreCivic, which houses federal detainees in the custody of
the U.S. Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs
Enforcement or Department of Homeland Security. See
west-tennessee-detention-facility. Though he did not
specifically allege his status in the complaint, it appears
that Huntley was a federal pre-trial detainee in the custody
of the Marshals at the time of the events in this
case. Therefore, his claims cannot be brought
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which applies only to
deprivations of constitutional rights committed by a person
acting under color of state law. Therefore, his
claims arise, if at all, under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed.
Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Bivens provides a
right of action against federal employees who violate an
individual's rights under the United States Constitution.
“Under the Bivens line of cases, the Supreme
Court has recognized a cause of action against federal
officials for certain constitutional violations when there
are no alternative processes to protect the interests of the
plaintiff and no special factors counseling against
recognizing the cause of action.” Koubriti v.
Convertino, 593 F.3d 459, 466 (6th Cir. 2010).
Huntley was a federal detainee when the events at the WTDF
occurred,  the prison facility is operated, as
stated, by CoreCivic rather than by federal officials.
Defendants Preston and Gill were, therefore, presumably
employed by CoreCivic. The Supreme Court has held that a
Bivens action may not be brought against private
corporations that operate prison facilities housing federal
detainees and convicted prisoners. Corr. Servs. Corp. v.
Malesko, 534 U.S. 61 (2001). Therefore, to the extent
Huntley intended to assert any claims against the Defendants
in their official capacities, such claims are construed as
having been brought against CoreCivic and fail to state a
Supreme Court also has declined to extend the Bivens
remedy to actions brought against “privately employed
personnel working at a privately operated federal
prison” where the allegedly unconstitutional conduct
“is of a kind that typically falls within the scope of
traditional state tort law.” Minneci v.
Pollard, 565 U.S. 118, 131 (2012). Like Huntley's
claims in this case, Minneci involved a federal
prisoner's claim for lack of adequate medical care
against employees of a private prison company. Id.
at 120. The Supreme Court stated that in such cases,
“the prisoner must seek a remedy under state tort law.
We cannot imply a Bivens remedy in such a
case.” Id. at 131.
Court concludes that pursuant to the decision in
Minneci, Huntley has no plausible Bivens
damages remedy against the Defendants in their individual
foregoing reasons, Huntley's complaint is subject to
dismissal in its ...