United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
RICHARDSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Kennedy and Astin Hill, pre-trial detainees in the custody of
the Davidson County Sheriff's Office in Nashville,
Tennessee, co-filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Lieutenant David Hodges
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.
PLRA Screening Standard
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, on June 8, 2019, Lieutenant Hodges
advised another officer to investigate a possible assault on
a “weekender” inmate that occurred on June 5,
2019. (Doc. No. 1 at 5). As a result of this investigation,
several inmates were charged with various disciplinary
offenses, including Plaintiffs. According to the complaint,
the video on which the officers relied during their
investigation “shows no evidence of any assault or any
of the other violations” with which Plaintiffs were
charged. (Id.) Plaintiffs believe their characters
have been defamed and they were placed in segregation
“for something [they] didn't do.”
(Id. at 6.) They lost “points” as a
result of the charges. (Id.)
liberally, the pro se complaint alleges federal due process
claims in connection with the disciplinary charges against
Plaintiffs and the resulting disciplinary proceedings. The
complaint names two Defendants to this action: the Davidson
County Sheriff's Office and Lieutenant Hodges in his
individual capacity. (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.
for purposes of the required PLRA screening that Plaintiff
also intended to sue Davidson County, a claim of municipal
liability requires a showing that the alleged misconduct is
the result of a policy, statement, regulation, decision or
custom promulgated by Davidson County or its agent.
Monell Dep't of Social Svcs.,436 U.S. 658,
690-691 (1978). A plaintiff can make a showing of an illegal
policy or custom by demonstrating one of the following: (1)
the existence of an illegal official policy or legislative
enactment; (2) that an official with final decision making
authority ratified illegal actions; (3) the existence of a
policy of ...