United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER DIRECTING THAT PROCESS BE ISSUED AND SERVED ON
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 10, 2019, Plaintiff Christopher Alan Lee Lane, who is
presently incarcerated at the Morgan County Correctional
Complex in Wartburg, 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.) He
sues Lieutenant Stephen Page concerning an event that
occurred during Lane's previous confinement at the Henry
County Jail in Paris, Tennessee. The Court issued an order on
April 16, 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.)
alleges that on March 28, 2019, Defendant Page used a taser
on Lane for no reason while Lane was asleep. (ECF No. 1 at
PageID 2.) Lane alleges that, after being awoken by the
taser, he was forced to sit in a “restraint
chair” for three hours. (Id.) He asserts that
he was at no point combative, aggressive, or a threat to
himself or anyone else. (Id.) Lane further alleges
that Page's incident report did not support the use of
excessive force. (Id.) Lane allegedly has suffered
insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression
since the incident. (Id. at PageID 3.) He seeks
monetary damages. (Id. at PageID 4.)
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to
dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the
(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
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. §
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.
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))).
filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
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 . . . .
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 law.
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 150
claim against Page arises under the Eighth Amendment, which
protects a convicted inmate from cruel and unusual
punishments. See generally Wilson v. Seiter, 501
U.S. 294 (1991). “[T]he unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain . . . constitutes cruel and unusual
punishment forbidden by the Eighth Amendment.”
Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 5 (1992) (quoting
Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319 (1986)). An
Eighth Amendment claim consists of both objective and
subjective components. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 834 (1994). Establishing an Eighth Amendment claim of
excessive force requires a showing that (1) “the
alleged wrongdoing was objectively ‘harmful enough'
to establish a constitutional violation, ” and (2)
“‘the officials act[ed] with a sufficiently
culpable state of mind.'” Hudson, 503 U.S.
at 8 (quoting Wilson, 501 U.S. at 298, 303). The
“core judicial inquiry” is “whether force
was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore
discipline, or maliciously and sadistically to cause
harm.” Id. at 6 (citing Whitley, 475
U.S. at 320-21).
claim against Page sufficiently pleads a violation of the
Eighth Amendment. He alleges that Page used a taser on him
without provocation while Lane was asleep. If Lane was
asleep, there was no need to use an incapacitating force such
as a taser to restore order or maintain discipline.
Page's use of the taser, therefore, could have been done
only to cause harm. Cf. Roberson v. Torres, 770 F.3d
398, 406 (6th Cir. 2014) (holding that sergeant's use of
a chemical agent on sleeping prisoner was excessive because