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Fields v. Trinity Food Service

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

October 17, 2019

CHARLES ORLANDO FIELDS a/k/a Noblebuddha-angavusishya, Plaintiff,



         On October 4, 2017, a civil complaint was filed jointly by four pro se prisoner Plaintiffs. (ECF No. 1.) At the time, all four were incarcerated at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility (HCCF) in Whiteville, Tennessee. The complaint concerns events that allegedly took place at the HCCF and at the Trousdale Turner Correctional Center (TTCC) in Hartsville, Tennessee.[1] When it appeared that no Plaintiff had complied with the Court's order to either pay the filing fee or file the necessary forms to proceed in forma pauperis, the Court dismissed the action and entered judgment. (ECF Nos. 17 & 18.) Plaintiff Charles Orlando Fields a/k/a Noble:buddha-angavu:sishya, who is currently incarcerated at the Whiteville Correctional Facility (WCF) in Whiteville, Tennessee, then moved to alter or amend the judgment because, as he notified the Court, he had filed an in forma pauperis affidavit. (ECF No. 22.) The Court granted Fields's motion, granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and amended its previous assessment of the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 32.) Fields is the sole remaining Plaintiff in this action.[2] The Clerk is DIRECTED to terminate the other Plaintiffs from this action.

         Fields has filed several motions and notices, (ECF Nos. 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 21, 24, 33 & 36), and a supplemental complaint, (ECF No. 11). Because the first supplemental complaint seeks to add claims related to those in his original complaint, the Court will consider it along with the initial complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(d).

         On June 6, 2019, Fields filed a “Motion for Leave to Amend to file a Supplemental Complaint.” (ECF No. 34.) The proposed pleading consists of a 65-page complaint, which itself contains, inter alia, numerous confusing and unnecessary documents, motions, and declarations. Fields also seeks to add numerous Defendants, most of whom work at the South Central Correctional Facility (SCCF), [3] and new claims against some existing Defendants. (Id. at PageID 425-426.) However, those claims are not properly joined in this action because they are completely unrelated to the claims in Fields's original complaint and seek relief against entirely unrelated Defendants. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 20; George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2007). Fields has been allowed to file one supplemental complaint in this matter. The Court will not parse Fields's second supplemental pleading to determine which additional claims belong in this action and which belong elsewhere. If he wishes to sue the SCCF Defendants, he must bring his claims against those Defendants in a new action filed in the appropriate district. See 28 U.S.C. § 123(b)(3). Fields's motion to further supplement the complaint is therefore DENIED.

         The Clerk shall record the Defendants as Trinity Food Service; the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC); the TTCC; CoreCivic (formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America);[4] the HCCF; TDOC Commissioner Tony Parker; TDOC Assistant Commissioner Jason Woodall; Bobby Last Name Unknown; Deborah Thompson, TDOC Religious Director; Jason Medlin, Regional Director; Joseph Russell, CoreCivic President; John Ferguson, CoreCivic Vice President; Christopher Brun, TTCC Contract Monitor; former TTCC Warden Blair Leibach; Tina England, TTCC Secretary; Jessica J. Garner, TTCC Grievance Chairperson; Connie Brinson, TTCC Sergeant; Jay Schwitzer, TTCC Health Administrator; Joanna Veal, TTCC Chief; former HCCF Warden Grady Perry; HCCF Assistant Warden Charlotte Burns; John Borden, HCCF Health Administrator; Bernard Dietz, a physician at HCCF; Shirley Robertson, HCCF Sergeant; Darlene Mathews, HCCF Library Supervisor; Rebecca Wilson, HCCF Grievance Chairperson; Latriva Lanier, HCCF Unit Manager; Elizabeth Ricketts; Marva Wills; Kizzy Woods, HCCF Job Coordinator; First Name Unknown (FNU) Siggers, HCCF Case Manager; Tomicka McKinnie, HCCF Protective Custody Unit Manager; FNU Williams, HCCF Case Manager; M.T., HCCF Grievance Chairperson; Kenyuda Daye; FNU Patterson; T. Anthony, HCCF Sergeant; FNU Crowder; FNU Gore, HCCF Chaplain; FNU Jones, HCCF Protective Custody Unit Manager; and Betty Hill, HCCF Case Manager. Fields sues the Defendants in their individual and official capacities.

         Fields's original pleading consists of a 42-page complaint, which contains various filings; five pages of various writs purportedly brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; a 1-page declaration from Fields's mother; and numerous exhibits. His supplement consists of a 10-page complaint and nine additional exhibits. Both documents are disjointed, difficult to follow, and at times incoherent. Fields alleges that he was “kidnapped from N.E.C.X. [the Northeast Correctional Complex] and restrained at T.T.C.C. in the form of human trafficing [sic] for retalitory perpurses [sic].” (ECF No. 1 at PageID 10.) At various points, he alleges that “a grievance was filed” for alleged violations of various rights that were denied at all levels of appeals. (Id. at PageID 10-11, 13, 15.) Fields alleges he was placed in segregation for 168 hours without proper hygiene items and released only after his mother called TDOC headquarters. (Id. at PageID 11.)

         Fields alleges that Defendant Brinson seized and held his property from “SWEETWATER” for over two months. (Id.) Fields apparently had ordered unspecified electronic items from this company that were delivered to TTCC in two shipments. (Id.) Defendants Liebach and Garner allegedly approved the items, but an internal affairs officer at TTCC refused Fields the items. (Id. at PageID 11-12.) Fields alleges that the officer later disclaimed having any knowledge of the packages or talking with Garner about them. (Id. at PageID 12.) Fields alleges that the “T.T.C.C; [sic] Agents have maliciously, arbitrarily, and capricious acts [sic] against me with an absolute blatant disregard for clearly established law.” (Id.) Fields alleges that the property later arrived at TTCC, but Defendant Burns told Fields he was not allowed to have it because it was not from an approved vendor. (Id. at PageID 13.) He asserts Defendant Garner violated TDOC policy in her handling of the electronic items. (Id. at PageID 12.)

         Fields alleges that he requested a raw fruit and vegetable diet, yoga mats and accessories, vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional supplements in accordance with his religious principles.[5](Id. at PageID 13-14.) He alleges that his request was sent to Defendant Gore, who told Fields he had approved Fields's request, but “still to this date nothing has been done.” (Id. at PageID 13, 15.) Fields alleges he still is served root vegetables, which “are forbidden to be eaten, ” and beans, to which he is allergic. (Id. at PageID 16.) In his supplemental complaint, Fields alleges that he gave Defendant Perry a grievance requesting an “adequate nutritious religious meal” in accordance with Jainism. (ECF No. 11 at PageID 216.) Perry allegedly responded that “he does not go by TDOC policies he goes by his own.” (Id.) Fields alleges that Perry has “implement[ed] regulation [sic] to infringe on [Fields's] religious practice” of Jainism. (Id. at PageID 217.) According to Fields, without this diet he is at risk for protein, amino acid, and B-12 deficiencies; severe forms of malnutrition such as marasmus, kwashiorkor, and cachexia; beriberi; rickets; skin ulcers; edema; and anemia. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 22.) Fields further alleges that the “Party defendants” have denied him “a place to practice, worship, and study the religion of Jainism.” (Id. at PageID 22.)

         Fields also alleges that Defendant Dietz refused to respond to his sick-call requests, refused to order Fields “a therapeutic diet, ” and discontinued a planned hernia surgery. (Id. at PageID 14-15.) He alleges that he is in severe pain from the hernia that, if not surgically corrected, “may rupture and cause poisoning or death.” (Id. at PageID 22.)

         Fields alleges that Defendant Siggers denied him copies of unspecified legal papers. (Id. at PageID 15, 17.) In another instance, Fields alleges that Defendant Mathews denied him copies of legal documents from a pending case in the Davidson County Chancery Court. (Id. at PageID 17.) He alleges that the court ordered Fields to provide copies of the summons in duplicate form and the complaint for each Defendant in his case. (Id.) Fields requested these copies through Mathews and provided the unit manager a copy of the court's order. (Id.) Mathews allegedly refused to make the copies for Fields, and Fields missed the court's deadline to submit them. (Id.) The court then dismissed Fields's complaint for failing to comply with court orders. (Id.) Fields alleges that he is at risk of missing another deadline in his “out-of-state cases” because of Mathews's actions. (Id. at PageID 22.)

         The complaint also contains numerous scattershot allegations against various Defendants alleged without elaboration or context: He alleges that on one occasion Defendant Williams would not allow him to call his attorney. (Id. at PageID 20.) Fields further alleges he has been punished for refusing to sign different documents or respond to documents addressed to “the ‘NAME' of the trust, ” which he insists “is not me.”[6] (Id. at PageID 14, 18-19.) He alleges Defendants M.T. and Patterson refused to call witnesses or cross-examine witnesses at his request during a disciplinary hearing. (Id. at PageID 27.)

         Fields generally states that prison officials have been “put on notice about the extent and nature” of actions “committed by their subordinates” but are not acting to correct the alleged misconduct. (Id. at PageID 20.) Fields cites federal statutes and provisions of law under which he seeks to charge the Defendants with various crimes and misdeeds. (Id. at PageID 25.) He asserts clams under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, et seq, (id. at PageID 26), the Tennessee Constitution, (id. at PageID 27), and various constitutional provisions, (id. at PageID 26-27).

         In his supplemental complaint, Fields alleges Defendant Hill told him that he was being transferred to the compound for refusing to sign protective custody forms with his given name.[7](ECF No. 11 at PageID 217.) Fields insisted that being transferred to the compound would put his life in imminent danger. (Id.) He asserts that Hill retaliated against him for not signing the forms by moving him to the compound. (Id. at PageID 219.)

         Fields seeks declaratory and injunctive relief. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 30; ECF No. 11 at PageID 222.) He also seeks compensatory, punitive, and “speculative” damages. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 31; ECF No. 11 at PageID 222-223.)

         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))).

         Fields 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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