United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Primm brings suit against the Tennessee Department of
Correction (“TDOC”), several other Tennessee
state agencies, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and
Davidson County,  and numerous individuals, all of whom are
alleged to be current or former state or county employees.
She asserts claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and
state law. (Doc. No. 1.) Because Plaintiff proceeds in
forma pauperis, the complaint is before the Court for an
initial review. For the reasons set forth herein, the
complaint will be dismissed in its entirety.
Plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, the Court is required
under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) to conduct an initial
review of the Complaint and to dismiss it if it is facially
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997),
overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549
U.S. 199 (2007). 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
[§ 1915(e)(2)] 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).
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)). However, “[s]ua sponte dismissals of a
complaint are appropriate when a statute-of-limitations
defect is obvious from the face of the complaint.”
Bowman v. Fister, No. 16-6642, 2017 WL 5495717, at
*2 (6th Cir. Mar. 22, 2017) (citing Alston v. Tenn.
Dep't of Corr., 28 Fed.Appx. 475, (6th Cir. 2002);
Pino v. Ryan, 49 F.3d 51, 53-54 (2d Cir. 1995)).
Procedural History and Relevant Facts
filed a previous lawsuit in this Court in March 2015,
Primm v. Tenn. Dep't of Corr. et al., No.
3:15-cv-00230 (“Primm I”),
bringing claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983
and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against TDOC
and numerous current and former employees of TDOC and several
other state agencies (collectively, the “Individual
Defendants”) in their individual and official
capacities. Primm alleged that TDOC and the Individual
Defendants discriminated against her by terminating her
employment with TDOC in July 2013. Primm also alleged that
the Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”) and Board
of Appeals members who heard her administrative action
violated her due process rights during her pre- termination
hearing and the subsequent appeal process. In accordance with
a show-cause order issued by the Court (Nixon, S.J.) shortly
after the complaint was filed, Plaintiff submitted a copy of
the EEOC's Dismissal and Notice of Rights (“right
to sue letter”) dated December 10, 2014. (Doc. No.
order granting her first motion to amend her complaint, the
Court dismissed on statute of limitations grounds all §
1983 claims against the Individual Defendants arising from
Plaintiff's termination in 2013, leaving intact her
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and Title VII against all
defendants and her § 1983 claims against TDOC. See
Primm I, Doc. Nos. 8, 35 (Campbell, J.). In March 2017,
the Court granted TDOC's motion to dismiss the claims
against it under §§ 1981 and 1983 on the basis that
they were barred by sovereign immunity, but the Court denied
TDOC's motion to dismiss the claims under Title VII.
Primm I, Doc. No. 35. At the same time, the Court
declined to address TDOC's arguments as to why the claims
against the Individual Defendants should be dismissed,
because the Individual Defendants had not yet been served
with process and TDOC lacked standing to raise defenses on
their behalf. In addition, the Court recognized that it was
not Plaintiff's fault that no defendants other than TDOC
had been served. Primm I, Doc. No. 35 at 7. The
Court directed the Clerk to issue summonses for, and ensure
service of process upon, the Individual Defendants.
November 17, 2017, four days after the November 13 deadline
set by the scheduling order for filing motions to amend,
Plaintiff filed a motion requesting a twenty-day extension of
the time within which to file an amended complaint. The
magistrate judge granted the motion on January 10, 2018,
giving Plaintiff until January 30, 2018 to file any motion to
amend the complaint and to include the proposed amended
complaint as an exhibit to the motion. Primm I, Doc.
Nos. 62, 67, 68. Plaintiff never filed the anticipated
3, 2018, more than five months after the extended deadline
for filing her motion to amend and proposed amended
complaint, the magistrate judge entered a show-cause order,
first noting that Plaintiff had “not complied with the
Court's order” and had “not filed anything in
this action since filing her motion for an extension of time
on November 17, 2017. Primm I, Doc. No. 71 at 1. The
order directed Plaintiff to “show cause within fourteen
days from the date of this order why the undersigned
magistrate judge should not recommend that this action be
dismissed for failure to prosecute.” Id. at 2.
Plaintiff failed to file anything in response to that order.
Consequently, the magistrate judge filed a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) on July 30, 2018,
recommending that the case be dismissed without prejudice.
Primm I, Doc. No. 73.
same day, Plaintiff filed a “Motion for
Reconsideration.” Primm I, Doc. No. 75. In
adopting and accepting the R&R, the Court noted that
Plaintiff “likely did not receive electronic
notification of the R&R before filing her Motion for
Reconsideration the same day” and therefore construed
the motion to be an untimely response to the show-cause order
rather than as timely objections to the R&R. Primm
I, Doc. No. 77 at 2. Because Plaintiff failed to file a
timely response to the show-cause order, the Court found that
she had “waived the opportunity to do so.”
Id. Moreover, even if the filing were construed as
objections to the R&R, Plaintiff did not challenge the
ruling of the R&R or provide a basis for rejecting it.
The Court therefore dismissed the case for failure to
prosecute and failure to comply with a court order.
thereafter filed a Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment, a
proposed Amended Complaint, Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment, Objections to the denial of the latter motion, and
an Emergency Motion to Reopen Case, none of which was
perceived to have merit. On June 4, 2019, the Court denied
the last of these motions and further noted that “no
further filings in this matter are warranted.”
Primm I, Doc. No. 91 at 2.
Plaintiff filed a new complaint, initiating this action, on
August 8, 2019, naming the following as defendants: TDOC; the
Office of the Tennessee Attorney General; Tennessee
Department of Human Resources; Attorney General Herbert H.
Slatery III; Assistant Attorney General Eugenie B. Whitesell;
Assistant Attorney General Lody Limbird; Assistant Attorney
General Lindsay Haynes Sisco; Derrick Schofield; Tony Parker;
Lisa Patton; Rebecca Hunter; Rebecca Hunter; Craig Raymer;
Connie Johnson; J.R. Miller; Rennee Cladwell; Debbie Inglis;
Virginia Lewis; Kim Summers; Bland Justis; Barbara Clark;
James Hamilton; John Drummond; Steve Darnell; Metro; and
Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall. (Doc. No. 1 at 1.) Plaintiff
now t brings suit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and
Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-30-101.
most part, the new complaint reiterates the claims brought in
2015 in Primm I, but Plaintiff also raises new
claims against new defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
The new defendants are Tennessee Attorney General Slatery,
three assistant attorneys general, Sheriff Hall, and Metro.
(Doc. No. 1.) The new claims relate to Plaintiff's arrest
for aggravated assault in 2013. Plaintiff asserts that she
learned in October 2018 that her arrest and prosecution were
unconstitutional because the arrest ...