United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
JOHNNY L. INGLE, Plaintiff,
SHELBY COUNTY, et al., Defendants.
ORDER PARTIALLY DISMISSING AMENDED COMPLAINT,
DIRECTING THE CLERK TO ISSUE PROCESS AND TO SERVE THE
REMAINING DEFENDANTS, AND DENYING REQUEST FOR APPOINTMENT OF
L. PARKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Court dismissed Plaintiff Johnny L. Ingle's pro se
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and granted him to
leave to amend. (ECF No. 7.) Plaintiff timely amended his
complaint (ECF No. 8) now in the screening process. Plaintiff
does not list the parties he wishes to sue by name in the
style of the case. But his amended complaint contains
allegations that he seeks to sue the following: the Director
of the Shelby County Correctional Center
(“SCCC”), District Attorney General Amy Weirich,
Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd
Bonner, Jr., Shelby County Chief Jailer Kirk Fields, Jailer
First Name Unknown (“FNU”) Hurtado,
Jailer FNU Bass, Jailer FNU Pree, Sergeant FNU Panell, Jailer
Big Will, Jailer FNU Hadley, and Jailer FNU Chaney. The Court
DIRECTS the Clerk to list the Defendants accordingly.
Plaintiff seeks to sue the Defendants in their individual and
provides far greater detail to his allegations than he did in
his initial complaint. He first alleges a new claim, not
included in his initial complaint: that on June 6, 2018, he
petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus in the Shelby County
Criminal Court. (ECF No. 8 at PageID 55.) The next month, the
authorities transferred him to a hospital and placed him in a
holding cell even though, he claims, he had no medical reason
to be there. (Id.) He does not allege, however, who
sent him to the hospital. (Id.)
later learned that the trial court held a hearing on his
habeas petition while he was at the hospital. (Id.
at PageID 56.) He claims that officials intentionally held
him at the hospital to prevent him from pursuing his habeas
petition. (Id.) Plaintiff seeks to sue the director
of the SCCC and District Attorney General Weirich, alleging
they conspired to deny him access to the court.
(Id.) The rest of his amended complaint amplifies
claims he made in the original complaint.
reiterates his original claims about the conditions at the
Shelby County Jail (“Jail”) after his transfer
from the SCCC. (ECF No. 8 at PageID 57-58; see ECF
No. 7 at PageID 45.) He again seeks to sue Shelby County
Mayor (Lee) Harris, Sheriff (Floyd) Bonner, and Chief Fields
for his treatment and the conditions. (ECF No. 8 at 58-59.)
He asserts that each Defendant knew the Jail was overcrowded
but “ignored his obligation” under the Tennessee
Constitution “to inspect and provide a safe comfortable
also reiterates his allegations that Jailer Hurtado refused
to move him to another cell, despite his cellmate's
threats and loud, racist comments. (ECF No. 8 at PageID 60;
see ECF No. 7 at PageID 45.) The cellmate eventually
punched Plaintiff, who then had to wait for Hurtado to remove
the cellmate before taking Plaintiff to a nurse. (ECF No. 8
at PageID 60.) Plaintiff alleges anew that Hurtado failed to
protect Plaintiff because he knew the cellmate had made
racist threats against staff members, yet Hurtado refused to
honor Plaintiff's request for placement in another cell.
(Id. at PageID 60-61.) Plaintiff also asserts that
Chief Fields failed to train Hurtado to protect Plaintiff,
and that Sheriff Bonner failed to ensure that Fields had
properly trained Hurtado. (Id.)
alleges that the authorities made him serve fifteen days in
segregation for the incident with his cellmate. (Id.
at PageID 62.) He alleges that, during those fifteen days,
they only allowed him to leave his cell twice for an hour
each time. (Id.) One time, Jailer Bass told him not
to tell other detainees. (Id.) And on the second
occasion Jailer Bass placed Plaintiff in a “holding
cage” no bigger than his cell. (Id.) Plaintiff
allegedly asked Jailer Pree for more time out of the
segregation cell. (Id.) But Pree allegedly refused
his request. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that Jailers
Bass and Pree knew he was entitled to one-hour out per day
but wrongly denied him that time out of his cell.
(Id. at PageID 62-63.) Plaintiff also seeks to hold
Chief Fields and Sheriff Bonner responsible for denying him
time out of his cell. (Id. at PageID 63.)
next alleges that, when Sergeant Panell escorted him to
segregation to serve his fifteen days, she told him what
legal materials he could bring. (Id. at PageID 63.)
But she was wrong. (Id.) Panell allowed Plaintiff to
take only two folders of materials, even though Jail policy
allows a shoebox-sized box per inmate. (Id. at
PageID 63-64.) In segregation, a jailer Plaintiff refers to
only as “Big Will” took one of his folders.
(Id. at PageID 64.) Plaintiff alleges that the
officers never returned these materials to him.
(Id.) Plaintiff asserts that Panell and Big Will
violated Jail policy when they confiscated his property.
(Id. at PageID 64-65.) He also seeks to hold Chief
Fields responsible for not ensuring that the jailers followed
the Jail's policies. (Id. at PageID 65.)
alleges that included in his lost property was a copy of the
first petition for a writ of habeas corpus he filed in the
Shelby County Criminal Court. (Id.) But because Big
Will and Panell took his property, he could not include a
copy of that petition with his second petition as state law
requires. (Id.) Plaintiff does not allege that his
second petition was denied or refused on that basis but
alleges that he was “denied a fair opportunity to
present all of [his] issues.” (Id. at PageID
66.) He seeks to hold Big Will and Panell responsible.
(Id.) And he asserts that Mayor Harris, Sheriff
Bonner, and Chief Fields “failed to investigate the
Jail to ensure of [sic] Ingles United States constitutional
Plaintiff alleges an array of one-time incidents-an unnamed
jailer took his shoes once even though jailers allowed all
African American detainees to keep theirs; Jailer Hadley did
not give him a spork; Jailer Chaney refused to retrieve his
property even though he had returned another detainee's
property; Jailer Chaney made a racist comment; an unnamed
jailer took his legal papers; an inmate stole his laundry;
other inmates gave him their soiled laundry; officers forced
him to wear torn clothes; and unnamed jailers are racially
discriminating against him. (Id. at PageID 67.)
these allegations, Plaintiff requests damages and an order
“requiring all Jailers to remain on their post during
shift changes until properly relieved.” (Id.
at PageID 57, 59, 61, 63, 65, 66.)
Court announced the legal standards for evaluating claims in
an inmate's complaint in the prior order of dismissal
(ECF No. 7 at PageID 46-48) and will not reiterate them here.
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint Fails to State a Claim
Against Any Defendant in His or Her Official
again seeks to sue the Defendants in their official
capacities. Plaintiff alleges that each Defendant except
District Attorney General Weirich is an employee of Shelby
County. As noted in the Court's previous order, those
claims are construed as against Shelby County. (ECF No. 7 at
PageID 48.) For the same reasons discussed before, Plaintiff
fails to state a claim against any Shelby County Defendant in
his or her official capacity. (Id. at PageID 48-49.)
The Court therefore DISMISSES his claims against these
Defendants in their official capacities.
State of Tennessee
also seeks damages against District Attorney General Weirich
in her official capacity. As a District Attorney General,
Defendant Weirich is an employee of the State of Tennessee,
not Shelby County. See White v. Swafford v. Gerbitz,
860 F.2d 661, 663 n.2 (6th Cir. 1988) (noting that district
attorneys general and their assistants “prosecute suits
on behalf of the state, Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-7-103, and
receive an annual salary payable out of the state treasury,
Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 8-7-105 and 8-7-201” and
are thus employees of the State of Tennessee); see also
Hembree v. Office of the Dist. Attorney Gen. for the 13th
Judicial Dist. of Tenn., No. 2:18-cv-00097, 2019 WL
1437913, at *2 (M.D. Tenn. Apr. 1, 2019). Claims against her
in her official capacity are therefore construed as against
the State of Tennessee. See Will v. Mich. Dep't of
State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
Plaintiff does not state a valid claim against the State of
Tennessee. The Eleventh Amendment to the United States
Constitution says 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.
Courts have interpreted the Eleventh Amendment to prohibit
citizens from suing their own states in federal court unless
the state first waives its sovereign immunity. 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, 131
S.Ct. 1632, 1638 (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.”
has not waived its sovereign immunity. See Tenn.
Code Ann. § 20-13-102(a). Moreover, a state is not a
person under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Lapides v. Bd. of
Regents of the Univ. Sys. of Ga., 535 U.S. 613, 617
(2002); Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491
U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
Court DISMISSES Plaintiff's claims against District
Attorney General Weirich in her official capacity.
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint Sufficiently States a Claim
Against Jailers Hurtado, Bass, and ...