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Patton v. Porter

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

October 11, 2019

RICKY D. PATTON, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER PORTER, ET AL., Defendants.

          ORDER PARTIALLY DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING THAT PROCESS BE ISSUED AND SERVED ON DEFENDANT PORTER

          JAMES D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On January 10, 2018, Plaintiff Ricky D. Patton, who is incarcerated at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center in Memphis, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) The Court issued an order on January 19, 2019, 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 Clerk shall record the Defendants as Officer First Name Unknown (FNU) Porter, #19515;[1] Officer FNU Elliot, #9254; and the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center.[2]

         Patton alleges that on December 20, 2017, he asked to speak with someone in mental health services because he “felt stress and depressed at the time and felt I very badly needed to be alone before I harmed somebody or myself.” (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) Patton alleges that he attempted to speak with an unnamed sergeant when he “was deprived of all my rights by Ms. Smith.”[3] (Id.) Patton alleges that proper protocol was not followed, and he was not handcuffed or taken out of his pod to prevent him from hurting himself.[4] (Id. at PageID 2-3.) Instead, he alleges that Officers Porter and Elliot entered his cell “aggressive” and screamed at him, “you ain't suicidal take your bitch ass in the cell.” (Id. at PageID 3.) Patton refused and demanded to speak “to a higher Authority, ” when the officers began to shove and force Patton into his cell and eventually sprayed him with “freeze plus P, ” a chemical agent, which blinded him. (Id.) Patton was then taken from his cell in handcuffs and escorted down a hallway. (Id.) He alleges that Officer Porter then struck him “with a close[d] fist to the back of the head and neck area” and yelled at Patton, “you hit me I'll kill you bitch.” (Id.) Patton insists camera footage from the facility would show he was handcuffed and “no longer a threat” when sprayed the second time and hit by the officers. (Id.)

         Patton was taken to the medical office where he asked to report the incident. (Id.) Patton alleges he was then taken to a cell on the fourth floor on the facility and later handcuffed and taken out of view of the cameras, where pictures were taken before he was “beaten and stomp[ed] in the back of my head with boots by the black uits [sic].”[5]

         Patton seeks $250, 000 in damages, an investigation into the alleged beating, and termination of the employment of all involved. (Id. at PageID 4.)

         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 (2007), 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))).

         Patton filed his complaint 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 injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress . . . .

         To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) a deprivation of rights secured by the “Constitution and laws” of the United States (2) committed by a defendant acting under color of state ...


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