United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
RICHARDSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Astin Hill, a pre-trial detainee currently in the custody of
the Davidson County Sheriff's Office in Nashville,
Tennessee, filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against “Maintance” and the
Davidson County Sheriff's Office. (Doc. No. 1).
complaint is before the Court for an initial review pursuant
to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the court must dismiss any
portion of a civil complaint filed in forma pauperis that
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, is
frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. Section 1915A similarly requires
initial review of any “complaint in a civil action in
which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or
officer or employee of a governmental entity, ”
id. § 1915A(a), and summary dismissal of the
complaint on the same grounds as those articulated in §
1915(e)(2)(B). Id. § 1915A(b).
court must construe a pro se complaint liberally, United
States v. Smotherman, 838 F.3d 736, 739 (6th Cir. 2016)
(citing Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)),
and accept the plaintiff's factual allegations as true
unless they are entirely without credibility. See Thomas
v. Eby, 481 F.3d 434, 437 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992)).
Although pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent
standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, Haines
v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520- 21 (1972); Jourdan v.
Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991), the courts'
“duty to be ‘less stringent' with pro se
complaints does not require us to conjure up [unpleaded]
allegations.” McDonald v. Hall, 610 F.2d 16,
19 (1st Cir. 1979) (citation omitted).
Section 1983 Standard
42 U.S.C. § 1983 creates a cause of action against any
person who, acting under color of state law, abridges
“rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws . . . .” To state a claim under
Section 1983, a plaintiff must allege and show two elements:
(1) that he was deprived of a right 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. Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d
543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Sigley v. City of
Panama Heights, 437 F.3d 527, 533 (6th Cir. 2006)); 42
U.S.C. § 1983.
complaint alleges that, while incarcerated in the Davidson
County Sheriff's Office, Plaintiff's sink stopped
draining on August 8, 2019. Plaintiff sought help from the
facility maintenance workers, but no one has responded to
Plaintiff's requests. Plaintiff is in his cell 23 hours a
day. He has been unable to wash his face or hands or brush
his teeth, and he has contracted an eye infection. According
to the complaint, “the water in the sink created a
smell w[h]ere it's unbearable to breathe . . . .”
(Doc. No. 1 at 7). Plaintiff vomits “just about every
time” he eats due to the smell. (Id.)
Plaintiff would like the sink to be repaired or to change
cells. He also seeks compensation for his eye infection and
“the maintance [sic] not coming to see [him].”
(Id. at 8.).
complaint names two Defendants to this action: the Davidson
County Sheriff's Office and “Maintance.”
(Doc. No. 1 at 2).
a police or sheriff's department is not an entity capable
of being sued under 42 U.S.C § 1983. See, e.g.,
Durham v. Estate of Gus Losleben, No.
16-1042-STA-egb, 2017 WL 1437209, at *2 (W.D. Tenn. Apr. 21,
2017); McKinney v. McNairy Cnty., Tenn.,
1:12-CV-01101, 2012 WL 4863052, at *3 (W.D. Tenn. Oct. 11,
2012); Newby v. Sharp, 3:11-CV-534, 2012 WL 1230764,
at *3 (E.D. Tenn. Apr. 12, 2012); Mathes v.
Metro. Gov't of Nashville and Davidson Cnty., No.
3:10-CV-0496, 2010 WL 3341889, at *2 (M.D. Tenn. Aug. 25,
2010). Thus, the complaint fails to state claims upon which
relief can be granted under Section 1983 against the Davidson
County Sheriff's Office. These claims will be dismissed.
the complaint names “Maintance” as a Defendant.
The Court infers that Plaintiff intended to name the
maintenance department of the Davidson County Sheriff's
Office as a Defendant. However, the maintenance department of
the Davidson County Sheriff's office is not a suable
entity under Section 1983 either. See Bertalan v. SCI
Graterford State Prison, No. 18-69, 2018 WL 491007, at
*1 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 18, 2018) (finding that a state
prison's maintenance department was not a
“person” for purposes of Section 1983); Smith
v. Fox, No. 4:07-1482-HFF-TER, 2007 WL 2156636, at *2
(D. S.C. July 25, 2007) (“Plaintiff's use of the
term ‘Maintenance Department' to refer to
undisclosed individuals intended to be made defendants in a