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Wilson v. Rutherford County Detention Center

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

August 6, 2019

GREGORY WILSON #378464, Plaintiff,
v.
RUTHERFORD COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Gregory Wilson, a convicted inmate of the Rutherford County Detention Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. No. 1), along with an application to proceed without prepaying fees and costs. (Doc No. 2.) The case is before the Court on the application and for an initial review pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e.

         I. APPLICATION TO PROCEED AS A PAUPER

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), a prisoner bringing a civil action may be permitted to file suit without prepaying the filing fee of $350 required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). Because it is apparent from Plaintiff's submission that he lacks the funds to pay the entire filing fee in advance, his application to proceed as a pauper (Doc. No. 2) is GRANTED.

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(b) and 1914(a), Plaintiff is nonetheless assessed the $350.00 civil filing fee. The custodian of Plaintiff's trust account is DIRECTED to submit to the Clerk of Court, as an initial payment, the greater of: (a) 20% of the average monthly deposits to Plaintiff's credit at the jail; or (b) 20% of the average monthly balance to Plaintiff's credit for the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of the complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). Thereafter, the custodian shall submit 20% of the Plaintiff's preceding monthly income (or income credited to Plaintiff for the preceding month), but only when the balance in his account exceeds $10.00. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2). Payments shall continue until the $350.00 filing fee has been paid in full to the Clerk of Court. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(3).

         The Clerk of Court MUST send a copy of this Order to the administrator of the Rutherford County Detention Center to ensure compliance with that portion of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 pertaining to the payment of the filing fee. If Plaintiff is transferred from his present place of confinement, the custodian must ensure that a copy of this Order follows Plaintiff to his new place of confinement, for continued compliance with the Order. All payments made pursuant to this Order must be submitted to the Clerk of Court for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, 801 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203.

         II. INITIAL REVIEW OF THE COMPLAINT

         A. Standard for Initial Review

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court is required to conduct an initial review of any complaint filed in forma pauperis, and to dismiss the complaint if it is facially frivolous or malicious, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 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, 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 (1976)).

         Plaintiff seeks to vindicate alleged violations of his federal constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 confers a private federal right of action against any person who, acting under color of state law, deprives an individual of any right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution or federal laws. Wurzelbacher v. Jones-Kelley, 675 F.3d 580, 583 (6th Cir. 2012). Thus, to state a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) a deprivation of rights secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and (2) that “the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law.” Tahfs v. Proctor, 316 F.3d 584, 590 (6th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted); 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         B. Plaintiff's Allegations

         The Complaint consists of two unrelated claims. First, he alleges that he is being unlawfully detained beyond his anticipated release date because the sentence credits he should be earning from his trustee job have not been properly applied to his sentence calculation. (Doc. No. 1 at 5; Doc. No. 1-1 at 1-3.) Plaintiff further alleges that he has submitted multiple grievances about his inaccurate sentence calculation, but that rather than correct the calculation, “this jail sent a lady name SRG Lloyd” to tell him that if he continued to submit grievances, “they” would take away his trustee job and his good time. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 1-2.) Since that time, the electronic system for filing grievances at the jail has automatically logged him out when he attempts to submit a grievance, and he receives no response to the grievances he manages to submit. (Id. at 2-3.) Plaintiff alleges that “writing grievances is my constitutional right.” (Id. at 2.) He also claims that his wrongful incarceration has caused him emotional distress, and he seeks nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages. (Doc. No. 1 at 5.)

         Plaintiff also complains about the conditions of his confinement in the Rutherford County Detention Center. He alleges that since June 15, 2019, he has been housed in a cell that is “basically a storage unit” due to overcrowding in the jail. (Doc. No. 1 at 16.) This cell has no running water or toilet. (Id.) In order to access the pod restroom for water or toilet, Plaintiff “ha[s] to wait for the guard to come around and do count, which is every 45 minutes.” (Id.) He alleges that having to wait 45 minutes to use the restroom sometimes makes his stomach hurt and that he “should be able to drink water at any time of the night.” (Id. at 17.) Plaintiff also alleges that the guards slam every door while they do their count, which wakes him up. (Id.) He does not allege that those disturbances amount to sleep deprivation or any injury. He seeks unspecified compensatory damages for the alleged violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. (Doc. No. 1 at 19.)

         C. ...


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