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Patton v. State

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

September 13, 2019

VERNON CHARLES PATTON, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE, Defendant.

          ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH, AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF APPELLATE FILING FEE

          THOMAS L. PARKER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Vernon Charles Patton, an inmate at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center in Memphis, Tennessee, sued pro se the State of Tennessee under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) After Plaintiff filed the necessary financial documents, (ECF No. 5), 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. 6.)

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that the legislative branch of the State of Tennessee “has failed to provide legal recourse to citizens aggri[e]ved by judges who violate their rights.” (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) He asserts that the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct (“TBJC”) is constitutionally flawed because it is made up of judges who are not subject to oversight and because it fails to enforce the Codes of Judicial Conduct. (Id.) He contends that he “has been subjected to numerous abuses of discretion by the T.B.J.C.” (Id. at PageID 3.) He seeks injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at PageID 3-4.)

         LEGAL STANDARDS

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

         The Court must screen prisoner complaints and to 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 such 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. And Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 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 accord 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 “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))).

         II. Requirements to State a Claim Under 42 ...


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