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Holloway v. Genovese

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

November 12, 2019

MARTRELL HOLLOWAY, Plaintiff,
v.
KEVIN GENOVESE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Martrell Holloway, an inmate at Turney Center Industrial Complex, filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden Kevin Genovese, Assistant Warden Clinton Denning, FM Sylvan, Turney Center Maintenance, and Medical Director Roy Germano. (Doc. No. 1 at 2-3, 12). Plaintiff also filed an application to proceed in this Court without prepaying fees and costs (Doc. No. 2) and a motion to appoint counsel (Doc. No. 7).

         I. APPLICATION TO PROCEED AS A PAUPER

         The Court may authorize a prisoner to file a civil suit without prepaying the filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). The inmate trust account statement attached to Plaintiff's in forma pauperis application reflects that he cannot pay the full filing fee in advance. (Doc. No. 2 at 3-7). Accordingly, Plaintiff's application (Doc. No. 2) will be granted, and the $350.00 filing fee will be assessed as directed in the accompanying Order. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).

         II. INITIAL REVIEW

         Under the screening requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the Court must review and dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from an immune defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The Court must also 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 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)).

         A. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff submitted a complaint (Doc. No. 1) and supplemental letter (Doc. No. 6). The Court has considered these filings together and established the following summary of allegations for the purpose of conducting an initial review.

         1. Light Fixture Incident

         Plaintiff's cell was in the Turney Center Annex. (Doc. No. 1 at 13). In early June 2019, Plaintiff told Sergeant Brady that the ceiling in his cell leaked when it rained. (Id.). On the morning of July 6, 2019, Plaintiff alleges that a light fixture fell on his leg due to the unrepaired leak. (Id.). In a statement attached to the complaint, Plaintiff also alleges that this light fixture was “improperly installed.” (Id. at 21). According to Plaintiff, no one has been “held accountable” for this incident, and Warden Genovese hired an outside contractor named FM Sylvan. (Id.).

         As a result of this incident, Plaintiff suffered “severe” pain in his right knee and lower back. (Id. at 5, 13). He told several officers about his injuries, and they carried him to the operations office to be seen by nurses. (Id. at 13-14). The nurses told Plaintiff he needed to go to the main compound clinic. (Id. at 13). The officers picked Plaintiff up and put him “in the passenger seat of a ‘gater' with no straps or seat belts.” (Id. at 14). This caused Plaintiff more back pain. (Id.). At the clinic, someone “started bending [Plaintiff's] knees, ” told Plaintiff he was fine, and sent him back to the Annex. (Id.). The officers took Plaintiff back to the operations office, and Assistant Warden Clinton Denning told everyone to leave except for Plaintiff. (Id.). Denning tried to bribe Plaintiff to “forget about the whole ordeal, ” but Plaintiff laughed and then Denning left. (Id.).

         On July 7, 2019, Plaintiff put in a sick call request, and he was seen by medical staff the next day. (Id.). Plaintiff was given a pair of crutches for one week, an elastic bandage, and some Tylenol. (Id.). On July 9, Plaintiff underwent an x-ray. (Id.). On July 14, Plaintiff submitted another sick call request, and he was seen the next day. (Id. at 15). Medical staff allowed him to keep one crutch for another week. (Id.). On July 16, Plaintiff put in a third sick call request because the medical staff had not done “anything for [his] pain.” (Id.). The next day, a doctor ran tests and diagnosed Plaintiff with a bruised nerve in his lower back, as well as a “hurt knee.” (Id.). The doctor prescribed a muscle relaxer, to be taken twice daily. (Id.). The doctor also restricted Plaintiff from participating in physical activities and sleeping on a top bunk. (Id.).

         Plaintiff alleges that he filed grievances on July 8 and 15, 2019, but they were not answered. (Id. at 16). According to Plaintiff, prison administrators ignore the Tennessee Department of Correction (“TDOC”) grievance policy. (Id.). Indeed, Plaintiff alleges that Turney Center staff members laugh at inmates who mention filing a grievance, because staff “know[s] it won't see the ligh[t] of day.” (Id. at 17). Finally, Plaintiff also alleges that, due to “overwhelming nepotism, ” there is an “epidemic of atrocities being inflicted upon Black inmates [at Turney Center] that are beyond mindboggling.” (Id. (internal quotation marks omitted)).

         2. Disciplin ...


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