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Young v. Scott

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division

October 30, 2019

CEDRIC SCOTT, ET AL., Defendants.



         On June 17, 2019, Plaintiff Adrian Dontrell Young, who is a pretrial detainee at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center (Jail) in Memphis, 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 20, 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. 5.) The Clerk shall record the Defendants as Officers Cedric Scott, L. Elliot, D. Rodgers, First Name Unknown (FNU) Pree, and T. Halliburton; and Sergeant FNU Cleaves.

         Young alleges that on March 21, 2019, he was sent to “the whole [sic]” for threatening staff. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 2.) One week later, on March 28, 2019, Sergeant Cleaves and Officers Elliot and Pree came to Young's cell and told him to change into a jumpsuit.[1] (Id.) Young protested being told to wear the jumpsuit. (Id.) Officer Scott allegedly entered the floor where Young was housed and stated, “Fuck that Bitch spr[a]y his ass.” (Id.) Young alleges that he was handcuffed, and Elliot pulled back on his arms and pulled him into a closet, causing his wrists to bleed. (Id.) Pree also allegedly grabbed one of Young's arms, and Cleaves grabbed Young by the neck. (Id.) Officer Rodgers cuffed Young's legs together and pulled him to the ground. (Id.) Scott then sprayed Young with an unidentified substance while he was on the ground, and all the officers kicked him. (Id.)

         In an attachment Young filed with the Court, he alleges that “some of the officer's [sic]” are still bullying him. (ECF No. 4 at PageID 17.) He has requested to be moved to a different cell away from the control booth, but the Jail refused his request. (Id.) He alleges that Officer Pree has continued to abuse him, denied him recreation, “play[ed] with [his] food, ” and threatened him. (Id.) Pree on one occasion allegedly smashed a food tray containing foods to which Young is allergic in the security flap of Young's cell, causing food to fly around the cell. (Id.)

         Young seeks an investigation “to get to the bottom of this” and compensatory damages. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 3.)

         The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the complaint__

(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 such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         In 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.

         “Pro 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))).

         Young filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides:

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 . . . .

         To 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 ...

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