United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
A. TRAUGERA, United States District Judge.
Denzal Williams, a pretrial detainee at the Sumner County
Jail in Gallatin, Tennessee, filed this pro se civil
rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Sonya
Troutt and Preston Stockdale. (Doc. No. 1 at 2.) He paid the
filing fee. (Doc. No. 5.) The complaint is before the court
for an initial screening, as required by the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”).
the PLRA, the court must screen and dismiss the complaint if
it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim, or
seeks monetary relief against an immune defendant. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. The court must also construe a pro se
complaint liberally, United States v. Smotherman,
838 F.3d 736, 739 (6th Cir. 2016) (citing Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)), and accept the factual
allegations as true unless they are entirely without
credibility, Thomas v. Eby, 481 F.3d 434, 437 (6th
Cir. 2007) (citing Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
April 13, 2019, the plaintiff went to recreation so his pod
could be searched. (Doc. No. 1 at 12.) When the plaintiff
returned, Officer Stockdale was waiting in his cell to strip
search him. (Id.) The plaintiff did not refuse, but
felt uncomfortable with Stockdale present due to “prior
encounters” with him. (Id.) Officers Stockdale
and Blake asked the plaintiff to remove his clothes, and he
stripped to his underwear. (Id.) Stockdale
“got mad and combative, ” and the plaintiff asked
him to leave. (Id.) Stockdale refused, and the
plaintiff felt “uncomfortable and de-humanized, like
[he] was sub-human, or a caged animal put on display for
someone's viewing pleasures.” (Id.)
Blake grabbed the plaintiff to “control the situation,
” and Officer Stockdale repeatedly punched the
plaintiff in the face. (Id.) According to the
plaintiff, he was then “engulfed” by 10 to 15
officers who used “more force than was needed.”
(Id.) The plaintiff was punched, kneed, and kicked
in the head and face. (Id.) The plaintiff suffered a
swollen eye and injured thumb. (Id. at 5.) He
alleges that he did not hit any officer during this incident.
(Id. at 12.)
plaintiff also alleges that the jail administration
“knowingly allowed” Officer Stockdale to be
present in the plaintiff's pod. (Id.)
Specifically, he alleges that Jail Administrator Sonya Troutt
“knowingly let” Stockdale enter his cell to
“shake down and strip search [him].”
(Id. at 13.) The plaintiff requests monetary
damages. (Id. at 5.)
Standard of Review
determine whether a prisoner's complaint “fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted” under the
PLRA's screening requirements, the court applies the same
standard as under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th
Cir. 2010). The court therefore accepts “all
well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, [and]
‘consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint
to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to
relief.'” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d
380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009)). An assumption of truth does not,
however, extend to allegations that consist of legal
conclusions or “‘naked assertion[s]' devoid
of ‘further factual enhancement.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). A pro se
pleading must be liberally construed and “held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (citing
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).
prevail on a cause of action under § 1983, a plaintiff
must prove ‘(1) the deprivation of a right secured by
the Constitution or laws of the United States (2) caused by a
person acting under the color of state law.'”
Winkler v. Madison Cty., 893 F.3d 877, 890 (6th Cir.
2018) (quoting Shadrick v. Hopkins Cty., 805 F.3d
724, 736 (6th Cir. 2015)).
Capacity of Defendants
are two defendants in this action-Jail Administrator Sonya
Troutt and Correctional Officer Preston Stockdale. (Doc. No.
1 at 2.) The plaintiff checked a box reflecting that he
brings this action against Troutt in her individual capacity,
and left the “official capacity” box blank.
(Id.) Conversely, the plaintiff checked a box
reflecting that he brings this action ...