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Marable v. Gibson County Correctional Complex

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

October 10, 2019




         On April 5, 2018, Plaintiff Bobby Lee Marable, who is incarcerated at the Gibson County Correctional Complex (GCCX) in Trenton, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) The Court issued an order on April 6, 2018, granting leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessing the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 4.) The Court also granted Marable's motion to supplement his complaint to add the names of the Defendants he sues and to request a jury trial. (ECF Nos. 5 & 6.) The Clerk shall record the Defendants as the GCCX, Lieutenant Nick Milan, Lieutenant First Name Unknown (FNU) Kelly, Lieutenant Christine Combs, Twila Claybon, Dakota Hicks, and Officer FNU Jordan.

         Marable alleges that on August 10, 2017, Lieutenant Milan and Officer Miller (who Marable does not name as a Defendant) used excessive force while arresting Marable. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 1.) Marable claims that, while he was handcuffed and laying on his stomach, Milan punched him “in the right side of my face and head at least 10 times, ” while Miller twisted Marable's handcuffs causing his wrists to bleed and hands to turn numb. (Id.) The officers then allegedly dragged Marable by his feet despite his protests that an object protruding from the ground was jabbing and cutting him. (Id.) The officers allegedly responded that they did not care about his discomfort and refused to allow Marable to stand, saying “that's what [you] get.” (Id.)

         The officers took Marable to the GCCX, where Officer Jordan allegedly refused him medical attention. (Id. at PageID 2.) Officers Jordan, Milan, and Miller reiterated, “that's what [you] get for running from the Officers.” (Id.) Medical personnel eventually arrived but told Marable nothing was wrong with him. (Id.) A transporting officer informed the medical staff that Marable likely was dehydrated, causing him to vomit out the patrol car window en route to GCCX. (Id.) Marable was processed the next morning and released on bond. (Id.) He alleges that a pocket knife and money from his wallet were missing from the personal items returned to him. (Id.)

         Marable alleges that months later, on February 27, 2018, when he was in custody at the GCCX, Officers Claybon, Hicks, and Combs took his mattress that he had exchanged with an inmate who was being released. (Id.) Marable was forced to sleep on the concrete floor for several days, which “was very uncomfortable sleeping.” (Id. at PageID 2-3.) On March 7, 2018, Lieutenant Kelly came to Marable's cell to deny him a cell transfer. (Id. at PageID 3.) Marable alleges that Kelly knew Marable had no mattress but said nothing about it. (Id.) Officers Jordan and Paige (who Marable does not name as a Defendant) brought Marable a mattress the next day. (Id.)

         Marable in passing also alleges that his diet “needs to be fixed because I have acid reflux.” (Id.) He claims he has filled out several medical requests for medical attention but still has not received a different diet. (Id.)

         The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, 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).

         In assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim on which relief may be granted, the standards under Fed.R.Civ.P. 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, 555-57 007), are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). 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, ” and legal conclusions “must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Although a complaint need only contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), Rule 8 nevertheless requires factual allegations to make a “‘showing,' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 n.3.

         “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)). Pro se litigants, however, 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. Jan. 31, 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))).

         Marable does not specify the jurisdictional basis for his complaint or the relief he seeks. Based on the allegations in the complaint, the Court presumes Marable intends to proceed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party ...

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