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Artry v. Wilson County Jail

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

September 30, 2019

DECOLE ARTRY, a/k/a Dicole L. Slayden, Plaintiff,



         Decole Artry, also known as Dicole L. Slayden, is an inmate at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex (BCCX) in Pikeville, Tennessee who was formerly incarcerated in the Wilson County Jail in Lebanon, Tennessee. On April 16, 2019, Plaintiff filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. No. 1) and an application to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP). (Doc. No. 2.) These filings were accompanied by a letter notifying the Court of Plaintiff’s transfer from Wilson County to BCCX. (Doc. No. 1-1.)

         The Court subsequently entered an Order notifying Plaintiff that his IFP application was deficient. (Doc. No. 4.) Upon ascertaining that the Order was not delivered because the Tennessee Department of Correction identifies Plaintiff as Decole Artry rather than Dicole L. Slayden, the Court reissued notice of his IFP application’s deficiency, prompting Plaintiff to file an amended IFP application. (Doc. No. 6.)

         I. Application to Proceed IFP

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), a prisoner bringing a civil action may apply for permission to file suit without prepaying the filing fee of $350.00 required by 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a). Because it is apparent from Plaintiff’s IFP application that he lacks the funds to pay the entire filing fee in advance, his application (Doc. No. 6) will be granted by Order entered contemporaneously herewith.

         II. Initial Review of the Complaint

         A. PLRA Screening Standard

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss any IFP complaint that 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. Similarly, 28 U.S.C. § 1915A provides that the Court shall conduct an initial review of any prisoner complaint against a governmental entity, officer, or employee, and shall dismiss the complaint or any portion thereof if the defects listed in Section 1915(e)(2)(B) are identified. Under both statutes, this initial review of whether the complaint states a claim upon which relief may be granted asks whether it contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” such that it would survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470–71 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

         “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Applying this standard, the Court must view the complaint in the light most favorable to Plaintiff and, again, must 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)). Furthermore, pro se pleadings 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) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). However, 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), nor can the Court “create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading.” Brown v. Matauszak, 415 Fed.App’x 608, 613 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Clark v. Nat’l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975)).

         B. Section 1983 Standard

         Plaintiff seeks to vindicate alleged violations of his federal constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 creates a cause 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 Section 1983 claim, Plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) a deprivation of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. Carl v. Muskegon Cty., 763 F.3d 592, 595 (6th Cir. 2014).

         C. Allegations and Claims

         Plaintiff alleges that he arrived at the Wilson County Jail on July 12, 2018, following his transfer from Davidson County. (Doc. No. 1 at 5.) He alleges that he had surgery while he was incarcerated in Davidson County, but that the Wilson County Jail staff “don’t want to handle from w[h]ere Nashville Jail left off.” (Id.) Plaintiff states that he “constantly” requested a return to the hospital, but unnamed Jail staff just gave him “the run around saying they gonna do this and they gonna do that.” (Id.) As of January 11, 2019, [1] the Jail had not sent Plaintiff back to the hospital “for the rest of [his] surgery, ” though he had been “thr[o]wing up blood, and thr[o]wing up his food every day, ” and had experienced weight loss and pain in his stomach. (Id.)

         Plaintiff has named as Defendants the Wilson County Jail, “Wilson County Jail COs, ” and “Wilson County Jail Medical.” (Id. at 1, 2.) He states that he is filing for “medical neg[lect]” and seeking relief of ...

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