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Dowdy v. Shelby County Sheriff's Office

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

August 21, 2019

DOUZIA TRAMANE DOWDY, Plaintiff,
v.
SHELBY COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE and SHELBY COUNTY JAIL, Defendants.

         JURY DEMAND

          ORDER TO MODIFY THE DOCKET, DISMISSING COMPLAINT, CERTIFYING THAT AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH, AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          THOMAS L. PARKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Douzia Tramayne Dowdy, who was a pretrial detainee at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center (“SCCJC”) in Memphis, Tennessee, [1] sued pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and moved to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 1; ECF No. 2.) The Court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 4.) The Court DIRECTS the Clerk to record the Defendants as Shelby County Sheriff's Office (“SCSO”) and the Shelby County Jail (“Jail”).[2]

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that while he was housed at SCCJC, he was bitten by “a venomous spider” on his right forearm while he slept. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) Plaintiff awoke when he was bitten, killed the spider, and told an on-duty officer about the spider. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges the SCCJC staff forced him to stay in the same cell where he was bitten without ever spraying for insects or spiders. (Id.) SCCJC staff then took Plaintiff for medical treatment four days later and then again four days after that when, he alleges, his bite showed signs of infection that worsened. (Id. at PageID 2-3.) Plaintiff states that the infection “still hasn't gone away” and he has had “complications” in his right arm since being bitten. (Id. at PageID 3.)

         Plaintiff seeks unspecified damages “for the pain and suffering I went through and that I'm still having.” (Id. at PageID 3.)

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         I. Screening Requirements Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         The Court must screen prisoner complaints and dismiss any complaint, or any portion of it, if the complaint-

(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 that relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         As to step one, in assessing whether the complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, the Court applies the standards under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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). Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Under those standards, 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” because they are not “factual” and legal conclusions “must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Federal Rule also of Civil Procedure 8 also provides guidance on this issue.

         Even though Rule 8 only requires a complaint to contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” it also requires factual allegations to make a “‘showing,' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3.

         Courts conducting the screening analysis will give slightly more deference to pro se complaints than to those drafted by lawyers. “Pro 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)). That said, pro se litigants 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. 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro se complaint for failure to comply with “unique pleading requirements” and stating ...


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