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Moore v. Prisoner Transport Services

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

November 4, 2019

MALIK M. MOORE, Plaintiff,
v.
PRISONER TRANSPORT SERVICES, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ELI RICHARDSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a pro se complaint for alleged violation of civil rights (Doc. No. 1), filed by Malik M. Moore, a former inmate of the Portage County Jail in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. The complaint was originally filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, which provisionally granted pauper status based on Plaintiff's application and transferred the matter to this Court. (Doc. Nos. 2, 4.)

         The matter is now before the Court for a determination of Plaintiff's pauper status and an initial review of the complaint pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e.

         APPLICATION TO PROCEED AS A PAUPER

         Following the Western District of Missouri's transfer of this action and provisional grant of pauper status, this Court found Plaintiff's application for pauper status deficient due to the lack of a certified copy of his inmate trust fund account statement and ordered him to cure the deficiency within 28 days. (Doc. No. 8.) However, Plaintiff appears to have been released from jail prior to this deadline, and now seeks an extension of time in which to complete his application for pauper status. (Doc. No. 9.)

         In light of Plaintiff's release from confinement, and given that his original application was not a short-form application for prisoners but a long-form declaration of his income, assets, and obligations that demonstrates his poverty (Doc. No. 2), Plaintiff will be allowed to proceed in this Court without payment of the filing fee. By separate Order, the Court will grant Plaintiff pauper status and deny as moot his motion for an extension of time to complete his application therefor. (Doc. No. 9.)

         INITIAL REVIEW OF THE COMPLAINT

         I. PLRA SCREENING STANDARD

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss any IFP complaint that is facially frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. Similarly, Section 1915A provides that the Court shall conduct an initial review of any prisoner complaint against a governmental entity, officer, or employee, and shall dismiss the complaint or any portion thereof if the defects listed in Section 1915(e)(2)(B) are identified. Under both statutes, this initial review of whether the complaint states a claim upon which relief may be granted asks whether it contains “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” such that it would survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

         “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Applying this standard, the Court must view the complaint in the light most favorable to Plaintiff and, again, must take all well-pleaded factual allegations as true. Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d 478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 F.3d 461, 466 (6th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted)). Furthermore, pro se pleadings must be liberally construed and “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). However, pro se litigants are not exempt from the requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989), nor can the Court “create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading.” Brown v. Matauszak, 415 Fed.Appx. 608, 613 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Clark v. Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169 (6th Cir. 1975)).

         II. SECTION 1983 STANDARD

         Although no basis for this Court's jurisdiction is provided in the complaint (see Doc. No. 1 at 3), the complaint is liberally construed as seeking to vindicate alleged violations of Plaintiff's federal constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Section 1983 creates a cause of action against any person who, acting under color of state law, deprives an individual of any right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution or federal laws. Wurzelbacher v. Jones-Kelley, 675 F.3d 580, 583 (6th Cir. 2012). Thus, to state a Section 1983 claim, Plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) a deprivation of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. Carl v. Muskegon Cty., 763 F.3d 592, 595 (6th Cir. 2014).

         III. ALLEGATIONS AND CLAIMS

         Plaintiff's ...


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