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Evans v. Bonner

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

October 17, 2019

CHARLIE E. EVANS, Plaintiff,
v.
FLOYD BONNER, ET AL., Defendants.

          ORDER TO MODIFY THE DOCKET, PARTIALLY DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING THAT PROCESS BE ISSUED AND SERVED ON THE REMAINING DEFENDANTS

          JAMES D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On October 18, 2018, Plaintiff Charlie E. Evans a/k/a Charlie Earl Evans, [1] who at the time of filing was a pretrial detainee at the Shelby County Jail 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 October 25, 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. 5.) Evans has submitted letters to the Court that appear to supplement his complaint. (ECF Nos. 8, 9.) The Court will review the allegations in the letters with t he c omplai nt. The Clerk shall record the Defendants as Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner; Sergeant First Name Unknown (FNU) Smith; Officer FNU Smith, D.R.T. Team Member FNU Elliot, Sergeant FNU Buford, Captain FNU Jackson, Sergeant FNU Morning, Lieutenant FNU Johnson, and Deputy Chief FNU Fields.[2]

         Evans alleges that “for weeks” he has had trouble “breathing without proper ventilations in my cell.” (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) He states he was placed “in the hole” for 30 days, and upon entering the cell he notified Defendants Elliot and (Sergeant) Smith that the cell was “very hot, ” the toilet did not work, and that the cell lacked air ventilation. (Id.) Defendants Smith, Elliot, and Buford allegedly responded that they did not “give a fuck about how hot a cell is” and told Evans to get in the cell “or we will make you go.” (Id.) Evans alleges that he entered the cell and had difficulty breathing within twenty-five minutes. (Id.) He alleges that his nose began bleeding, and he began to hyperventilate. (Id.) Evans's cellmate called for help, but no one came. (Id.) Evans lay on the floor and attempted “to receive oxygen from under the door.” (Id. at PageID 3.) After Evans's cellmate began kicking the door to try to get help, Defendants Smith, Elliot, and Buford allegedly reappeared, referred to Evans by a racial epithet, and told him “Your ass gone [sic] die before we do any paper work on your ass. Bleed out. We just gone [sic] send your ass to the morgue and back home to ya [sic] family. We don't care.” (Id.)

         Evans alleges that he “just had to endure this extreme form of punishment” for weeks. (Id.) He allegedly wrote letters and grievances about the lack of ventilation and air conditioning but received no response. (Id.) Evans alleges that his cell “is completely blocked off with plexiglass top to bottom and there is no way to receive any source of air conditioning.” (Id.) Captain Jackson allegedly told Evans “that they will not be removing the Plexiglass period.” (Id.) Evans alleges that his cell smells of urine and feces, and he is taken to another room to use the toilet because the toilet in his cell does not work. (Id.)

         In his supplements to the Court, Evans alleges that Defendant Buford refused Evans's reassignment from segregation and into the general population. (ECF No. 8 at PageID 18.) When Evans asked Buford why he had denied the transfer, Buford allegedly responded, “This is w[h]ere I want you until I'm ready for you to leave and go back to population.” (Id. at PageID 19.) Buford allergy told Evans to “write a grievance, and I'm gone [sic] still be the on[e] that has to answer you[r] grievance.” (Id.) Evans alleges that Buford “is not only punishing me unlawfully but mocking me daring me to write it up or to even compla[i]n to anyone.” (Id.)

         Evans further alleges that unnamed nurses are not complying with doctors' orders to keep him in the infirmary and treat him with certain medications. (ECF No. 9 at PageID 21.) He alleges that “the medical staff” is not giving him medication for pain, properly changing his medical dressings and bandages, or treating stitches he has inside of his nose. (Id. at PageID 21-22.)

         Evan's asks the Court “to uphold the Law and see to it that these Government officials receive adequate punishment accordingly.” (ECF No. 1 at PageID 4.) He requests unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and that the Court order the Jail to “install proper air condition units inside those cells inside those solitary confinement cells or take away the plexiglass from the bar's [sic].” (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 (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))).

         Evans 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 ...

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