United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
LARRY D. HORTON, Plaintiff,
MADISON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, ET AL., Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING AMENDED COMPLAINT, CERTIFYING AN
APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND NOTIFYING
PLAINTIFF OF APPELLATE FILING FEE
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
August 27, 2019, the Court entered an order dismissing
pro se Plaintiff Larry D. Horton's complaint and
granting leave to file an amended complaint. (ECF No. 6.) On
September 9, 2019, Horton filed a motion asking the Court to
reconsider that ruling. (ECF No. 8.) The Court denied the
motion but granted Horton until September 26, 2019, to file
an amended complaint. (ECF No. 9.) Horton has filed what the
Court will construe as an amended complaint. (ECF No. 10.)
Although the Court received the filing on September 30, 2019,
it appears Horton submitted it for mailing on September 26,
2019. (Id. at PageID 55.) The Court will therefore
deem the filing timely and screen it under 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(b). See Brand v. Motley, 526 F.3d 921, 925
(6th Cir. 2008).
amended complaint, Horton reiterates his allegations about
the conditions at the Madison County Criminal Justice Complex
(CJC) and that he seeks to hold “the entire Madison
County Sheriff Department” liable for the conditions.
(ECF No. 10 at PageID 52.) He alleges that he has become ill
on several occasions, been bitten by spiders, contracted food
poisoning, and suffered mental stress because of the
conditions. (Id.) Horton asserts that he cannot
obtain names of anyone responsible for injuries because he is
confined to his cell twenty-three hours a day. (Id.
at PageID 53.) He references his previous filing, which lists
several dates on which he alleged he visited the medical
department and received inadequate treatment. (ECF No. 8 at
PageID 43-45.) Horton asks the Court to “once
again” reconsider its previous order. (ECF No. 10 at
legal standards for assessing the claims in an inmate's
complaint were set forth in the prior order of dismissal,
(ECF No. 6 at PageID 30-31), and will not be reiterated here.
Court previously noted, the Madison County Sheriff's
Department is not an entity subject to suit under §
1983. See Jones v. Union Cnty., Tennessee, 296 F.3d
417, 421 (6th Cir. 2002) (citing Matthews v. Jones,
35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir. 1994)). Horton's suit is
construed as against Madison County, which may be held liable
only if Horton's injuries were sustained
pursuant to an unconstitutional custom or policy of the
County. See Monell v. Dep't. of Soc. Serv., 436
U.S. 658, 691-92 (1978). However, Horton does not allege that
the problems at the CJC, or any injury he suffered as a
result, are attributable to a policy or custom of Madison
County. He provides no new facts and only reiterates his
allegations about the conditions at CJC. Therefore, for the
same reasons discussed in the Court's previous order (ECF
No. 6 at PageID 32-33), Horton's amended complaint fails
to state a claim against Madison County.
extent Horton seeks to hold the CJC medical department
responsible for his allegedly inadequate treatment, he does
not state a claim. Horton lists his symptoms and the dates on
which he was seen for treatment, but he does not name any
member of the medical staff who failed to treat him
adequately. He instead refers only to “they, ”
“medical, ” or “medical staff.” These
vague allegations are insufficient to state a claim against
any member of the medical department. See Frazier v.
Michigan, 41 Fed.Appx. 762, 764 (6th Cir. 2002); see
also Gray v. Weber, 244 Fed.Appx. 753, 754 (8th Cir.
2007) (affirming dismissal of inmate's § 1983
complaint alleging denial of medical care against defendants
identified “only collectively as ‘medical
conclusion, the Court DISMISSES Horton's complaint for
failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and
1915A(b)(1). Leave to further amend is DENIED.
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), the Court must also consider
whether an appeal by Horton in this case would be taken in
good faith. The good faith standard is an objective one.
Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962).
The same considerations that lead the Court to dismiss this
case for failure to state a claim also compel the conclusion
that an appeal would not be taken in good faith. Therefore,
it is CERTIFIED, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3),
that any appeal in this matter by Horton would not be taken
in good faith.
Court must also address the assessment of the $505 appellate
filing fee if Horton nevertheless appeals the dismissal of
this case. A certification that an appeal is not taken in
good faith does not affect an indigent prisoner
plaintiff's ability to take advantage of the installment
procedures contained in § 1915(b). See McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 610-11 (6th Cir. 1997),
partially overruled on other grounds by LaFountain,
716 F.3d at 951. McGore sets out specific procedures
for implementing the PLRA, §§ 1915(a)-(b).
Therefore, Horton is instructed that if he wishes to take
advantage of the installment procedures for paying the
appellate filing fee, he must comply with the procedures set
out in the PLRA and McGore by filing an updated
in forma pauperis affidavit and a current, certified
copy of his inmate trust account for the six months
immediately preceding the filing of the notice of appeal.
analysis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) of future filings, if
any, by Horton, this is the first dismissal of one of his
cases as frivolous or for failure to state a claim. This
strike shall take effect when judgment is entered. See
Coleman v. Tollefson, 135 S.Ct. 1759, 1763-64 (2015).
Clerk is directed to ...