United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
RICHARDSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a pro se complaint for alleged
violation of civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(Doc. No. 1), filed by Douglas Torrens, a pretrial detainee
in the custody of the Humphreys County Jail in Waverly,
Tennessee. Plaintiff has also filed an application to proceed
in forma pauperis (IFP) (Doc. No. 2), which the
Court will grant by Order entered contemporaneously herewith.
The complaint is now before the Court for an initial review
pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, and 42 U.S.C.
REVIEW OF THE COMPLAINT
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, Section 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)).
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 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.Appx. 608, 613 (6th Cir.
2011) (quoting Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins.
Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975)).
SECTION 1983 STANDARD
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 § 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).
ALLEGATIONS AND CLAIMS
purposes of the initial screening, the Court will except as
true all allegations in the following paragraph.
his intake at the Humphreys County Jail in November 2018,
Plaintiff was given a physical (examination) during which he
reported to Nurse Jacks that he had broken his wrist at some
point prior to being sent to jail. (Doc. No. 1 at 4-5.) Nurse
Jacks is employed by Southern Health Care Partners, the
medical services contractor for the Jail. (Id. at
4.) Nurse Jacks ordered x-rays which confirmed a broken bone
in Plaintiff's “arm/wrist/hand area, ” but no
treatment was offered to him. (Id.) Nurse Jacks told
Plaintiff that “if [he] had money to pay or insurance
she would send [him] out for treatment, but that they would
not pay for it.” (Id. at 5.) This statement by
Nurse Jacks is also referenced in Plaintiff's grievance
over the lack of treatment,  in which he additionally states
that Nurse Jacks refused to order treatment by an outside
physician “since [the injury] is preexisting.”
(Id. at 15.) In response to Plaintiff's
grievance, the Jail Administrator requested that Plaintiff be
allowed to see the physician when he comes in, but Nurse
Jacks refused. (Id. at 7, 15.)
alleges that his injury seemed to worsen due to not being in
a cast, that he suffered undue pain and concern, and that
“to this day [his wrist] is not
right.” (Id.) He asks the Court to order
Defendants to send him to an orthopedic physician to review
his injury and make a decision on treatment, and seeks an
award of unspecified punitive damages. (Id.)
initial matter, Plaintiff fails to state a viable claim
against the Humphreys County Jail and Sheriff Davis. The Jail
is not a proper defendant under Section 1983, which creates a
cause of action against “[e]very person” who,
acting under color of state law, abridges “rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and
laws[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 1983. “For purposes of
§ 1983, ‘person' includes individuals and
‘bodies politic and corporate.'” Hix v.
Tennessee Dep't of Corr., 196 Fed.Appx. 350, 355
(6th Cir. 2006) (quoting Monell v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 & n. 55 (1978)). A county
jail “is a place; it is not a ‘person' that
can be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.” Tucker v.
Salandy, No. 3:17-cv-00671, 2017 WL 2438401, at *2 (M.D.
Tenn. June 6, 2017). Moreover, in suing Sheriff Davis in his
official capacity only,  Plaintiff has effectively sued his
employer, Humphreys County. See Alkire v. Irving,
330 F.3d 802, 810 (6th Cir. 2003) (holding that
“individuals sued in their official capacities stand in
the shoes of the entity they represent”). While
Humphreys County is a proper defendant under Section 1983,
municipal liability may be established only if
Plaintiff's harm was caused by the execution of ...