United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
MICHAEL J. MORGAN, Plaintiff,
HIWASSEE MENTAL HEALTH, HEATHER CONNER, STATE OF TENNESSEE, and MCMINN COUNTY, Defendants.
K. Lee Magistrate Judge.
R. MCDONOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The matter is now before the
Court for the required screening of Plaintiff's complaint
pursuant to the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”). For the reasons set forth below, this
action will be DISMISSED as the complaint
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under
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
states that his claim is “mental” and that a
court and his lawyer coerced him to plead no contest because
he would not plead guilty, but Plaintiff did not understand
the charge to which he was pleading or the related papers.
(Doc. 2, at 3-4.) Plaintiff further states that he has
“mental problems, ” was proven incompetent with
no psychologist in court to help him, and was “given
proba[t]ion and mental health court, ” for which the
court ordered him to go to Defendant Hiwassee Mental Health
(“Hiwassee”). (Id.) At Hiwassee,
Plaintiff told Defendant Conner that he was innocent and
coerced, as well as his personal problems that he needed to
work through, including witnessing his dad's suicide.
(Id. at 4.) Defendant Conner, however, wanted
Plaintiff to take medications that Plaintiff did not want to
take and told Plaintiff to get over his dad's suicide.
after Defendant Conner told mental health court Judge
Freiburg what Plaintiff had told her, Judge Freiburg told
Plaintiff that he was tired of Plaintiff telling Defendant
Conner that he is innocent, that Plaintiff needed to get over
his dad's suicide, and that Plaintiff needed to take the
medications he was offered in Hiwassee or he would violate
probation. (Id.) Plaintiff states that he is
mentally traumatized and alone and does not need drugs, but
rather mental help. (Id.)
also states that he did not tear up an ATM or steal a back
hoe, but instead was at the wrong place at the wrong time,
does not have a car and cannot drive because of his seizures,
and rides a bicycle or the “sethra bus.”
relief, Plaintiff seeks retraining of all staff involved and
monetary damages for his mental suffering and mental
scarring. (Id. at 5.)
to the extent that Plaintiff seeks relief based upon his
allegations regarding a conviction that resulted from a
coerced guilty plea, those allegations fail to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted under § 1983.
Specifically, in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486
(1994), the Supreme Court held that if a judgment for
plaintiff necessarily implies the invalidity of an underlying
criminal conviction, the action must be dismissed unless the
plaintiff can show the conviction has been reversed on direct
appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a
state court, or called into question by a federal court's
issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. Id. Plaintiff
has not set forth any facts from which the Court can
plausibly infer that any underlying conviction has been
reversed or otherwise invalidated. As such, to the extent
that Plaintiff seeks relief from his underlying conviction
based upon the allegations in the complaint, those
allegations fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted under § 1983.
to the extent that Plaintiff seeks to hold Hiwassee and/or
Defendant Conner liable under § 1983 because Defendant
Conner wanted Plaintiff to take medications to assist him
with his mental health issues and told Plaintiff that he
needed to “get over” his dad's suicide, he
has not set forth facts from which the Court can plausibly
infer that these acts amounted to deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff's serious medical needs. A prison
authority's deliberate indifference to an inmate's
serious medical needs, including his mental health, violates
the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 103 (1976). Prison medical personnel or officials may be
deliberately indifferent to a prisoner's serious medical
needs “in their response to a prisoner's
needs” or by “interfer[ing] with treatment once
prescribed.” Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104-5.
Establishing the deprivation of a federal right in the Eighth
Amendment medical context requires evidence that the acts or
omissions of an individual operating under the color of state
law were “sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate
indifference to serious medical needs.” Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. ...