United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
RODNEY C. LINEBERRY, Plaintiff,
JOHNNY ALEXANDER, ET AL., Defendants.
ORDER TO MODIFY THE DOCKET, PARTIALLY DISMISSING
COMPLAINT AND DIRECTING THAT PROCESS BE ISSUED AND SERVED ON
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
3, 2019, Plaintiff Rodney C. Lineberry, who is incarcerated
at the Hardin County Jail (Jail) in Savannah, 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 subsequently
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 Hardin County Sheriff Johnny Alexander,
Chief Deputy Mike Fielder, and Sergeant Wesley Wilkerson.
alleges that he was taken into custody at the Jail in July
2018 and “placed in to a cell block.” (ECF No. 1
at PageID 2.) “[T]he officer” in his cell block
(Lineberry does not name the officer) “was told
befor[e]hand that [Lineberry] was going to be jumped if
placed in this cell.” (Id.) Lineberry does not
allege who told “the officer” that he was going
to be jumped. Two other inmates were forced to move from the
cell where Lineberry was to be housed. (Id.) Those
inmates allegedly told Sergeant Wilkerson that Lineberry
“was going to be jumped, ” but Lineberry still
was placed in the cell. (Id.) Lineberry does not
allege whether it was Wilkerson who made the decision to
house him there.
lockdown that day, Lineberry was “beaten by
inmates” and suffered a broken nose and swelling of his
eye. (Id.) Lineberry “was told if [he] went to
the police [he] would be beaten again.” (Id.)
He alleges that the doors were not checked at lockdown, and
he does not know how the inmates were able to enter his cell;
Lineberry suggests, however, that the guard had to open the
cell. (Id.) He seeks compensatory damages.
(Id. at PageID 3.)
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
extent Lineberry intends to assert claims against the
Defendants in their official capacities, his claims are
against Hardin County. The complaint, however, does not state
a valid § 1983 claim against Hardin County. A local
government such as a municipality or county “cannot be
held liable solely because it employs a
tortfeasor-or, in other words, a municipality cannot be held
liable under § 1983 on a respondeat superior
theory.” Monell v. Dep't. of Soc. Serv.,
436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978) (emphasis in original); see also
Searcy v. City of Dayton, 38 F.3d 282, 286 (6th Cir.
1994). A municipality may be held responsible for a
constitutional deprivation only if there is a direct causal
link between a municipal policy or custom and the alleged
deprivation. Monell, 436 U.S. at 691-92; Deaton
v. Montgomery Co., Ohio, 989 F.2d 885, 889 (6th Cir.
1993). To demonstrate municipal liability, a plaintiff
“must (1) identify the municipal policy or custom, (2)
connect the policy to the municipality, and (3) show that his
particular injury was incurred due to ...