United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER PARTIALLY DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING
THAT PROCESS BE ISSUED AND SERVED ON DEFENDANT BEARD
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
5, 2019, Plaintiff Donald Prescott, who is incarcerated at
the Northeast Correctional Complex in Mountain City,
Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) Prescott's complaint
addresses events that allegedly occurred during his previous
confinement at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility
(HCCF) in Whiteville, Tennessee. (Id. at PageID 3.)
After Prescott submitted the required financial documents,
the Court issued an order 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. 6.) The Clerk shall
record the Defendants as HCCF Unit Manager Dorothy
Robertson;, former HCCF Warden Grady Perry; HCCF Lieutenant
First Name Unknown Beard; the HCCF; and the Tennessee
Department of Correction (TDOC).
alleges that, sometime prior to May 28, 2019, he was
assaulted by five inmates at the HCCF and received a
disciplinary write-up for fighting. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 4.)
On May 28, 2019, the same five inmates again attacked and
stabbed Prescott. (Id.) Prescott was assigned to
segregated housing after the incident, where Lieutenant Beard
(then Sergeant Beard) was the officer in charge.
(Id.) Prescott asserts that Beard was aware of the
earlier altercation yet placed one of the inmates who had
assaulted Prescott in a cell with him while Prescott was
still in handcuffs. (Id.) That inmate, who was not
handcuffed, immediately began to attack Prescott again.
(Id.) Prescott alleges that when he and the five
inmates were released from segregation, all six of them were
placed back into the same housing pod. (Id.)
Prescott alleges he was stabbed several more times by the
same prisoners. (Id.)
asserts claims of negligence, emotional distress, imminent
harm and danger, and defamation of character. (Id.
at PageID 5.) He seeks damages. (Id.)
The 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
has no valid claim against the TDOC. Claims against the TDOC
are treated as claims against the State of Tennessee. See
Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989). The Eleventh Amendment to the United States
Constitution provides that “[t]he Judicial power of the
United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in
law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the
United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or
Subjects of any Foreign State.” U.S. Const. amend. XI.
The Eleventh Amendment has been construed to prohibit
citizens from suing their own states in federal court.
Welch v. Tex. Dep't of Highways & Pub.
Transp., 483 U.S. 468, 472 (1987); Pennhurst State
Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984);
see also Va. Office for Protection & Advocacy v.
Stewart, 563 U.S. 247, 253-54 (2011) (“A State may
waive its sovereign immunity at its pleasure, and in some
circumstances Congress may abrogate it by appropriate
legislation. But absent waiver or valid abrogation, federal
courts may not entertain a private person's suit against
a State.” (citations omitted)). Tennessee has ...