United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT, GRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND
AND DENYING REQUEST FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
6, 2019, Plaintiff Terry Lewis, who is incarcerated at the
Northwest Correctional Complex (NWCX) in Tiptonville,
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 June 7, 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 NWCX Warden Shawn Phillips, NWCX Chief of
Security Justin Lannom, NWCX Associate Warden of Security
First Name Unknown (FNU) Reeves, and NWCX Correctional
Officer FNU Cooper.
alleges that on January 25, 2019, he was stabbed
“eleven or twelve times” by armed gang members
who were allowed to enter his housing unit, despite not
living there, “for the sole purpose of robbing”
him. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) Lewis asserts that gangs
routinely roam NWCX to attack or rob other inmates, NWCX
allows the gangs to do so, and “[a]ll of the defendants
are aware” that NWCX allows this but have failed to
stop it. (Id.) Lewis alleges that the gang members
who stabbed him had to pass through two fences that either
were not locked or were not manned because of staffing
shortages at NWCX. (Id. at PageID 3.) Lewis suggests
that unspecified prison staff allowed the gang members to
leave their housing unit, pass through the fences, and enter
Lewis's housing unit. (Id.)
further asserts that “[a]ll of the defendants
know” that other inmates are making weapons out of
materials in their cells but have done nothing to stop it, in
violation of their official duties. (Id. at PageID
3-4.) He contends that “[t]he defendants failed to
ensure that NWCX was safe and secure, ” which led to
his attack. (Id. at PageID 4.)
sues the Defendants in their official and individual
capacities. (Id. at PageID 2.) He seeks an
injunction ordering NWCX to hire more staff, declaratory
relief, and money damages. (Id. at PageID 5.) He
also requests that the Court appoint him counsel.
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 ...