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Dennis v. Gray

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

November 14, 2019

GREGORY A. DENNIS, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF FRANKIE GRAY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Gregory Dennis, a resident of Dover, Tennessee, and former inmate at the Stewart County Detention Center, filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C.§ 1983 against Sheriff Frankie Gray, Jail Administrator Kenny Anderson, Sergeant Scallion, Lieutenant Taylor, Officer Webster, and Deputy Jacob Etherton. (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiff also filed an application to proceed in this Court without prepaying fees or costs (Doc. No. 8) and a motion for medical records (Doc. No. 3).

         I. APPLICATION TO PROCEED AS A PAUPER

         The Court may authorize a person to file a civil suit without prepaying the filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). It appears from Plaintiff's in forma pauperis application that he cannot afford to pay the $400.00 filing fee in advance. Accordingly, his application (Doc. No. 8) is GRANTED.

         II. INITIAL REVIEW

         The Court must review and dismiss any action filed in forma pauperis 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. § 1915(e)(2). The 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 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

         On the morning of July 19, 2019, Plaintiff alleges, he was sitting at a table in the pod when there was an incident with another inmate who was Plaintiff's nephew. (Doc. No. 1 at 4). Plaintiff's nephew was upset because someone told him that his “wife was out at some point with another man.” (Id.). Plaintiff stated the he “was not trying to be part of the problems . . . between his wife and him.” (Id. at 4-5). Plaintiff alleges that a fight ensued, although he does not describe the fight in any detail. (Id. at 5). Plaintiff allegedly suffered a cut on the side of his head and lost some of his teeth, and he was not taken to the hospital. (Id.).

         Plaintiff alleges that this altercation was video recorded, and that the recording was released to the public and on Facebook. (Id. at 3-5). Plaintiff alleges that the video started going “viral” and “a lot” of people watched it, although the total number of viewers is “unknown.” (Id. at 5). According to Plaintiff, his family called the Sheriff after the video was released, and the Sheriff said he “don't care if [Plaintiff] hire[s] 10 lawyers its not going to help.” (Id. at 6).

         B. Standard of Review

         To determine whether a complaint “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted” under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court applies the same standard as under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). The Court therefore accepts “all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, [and] ‘consider[s] the factual allegations in [the] complaint to determine if they plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.'” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 681 (2009)). An assumption of truth does not extend to allegations that consist of legal conclusions or “‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). A pro se pleading must be liberally construed and “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)).

         C. Discussion

         “To prevail on a cause of action under § 1983, a plaintiff must prove ‘(1) the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States (2) caused by a person acting under the color of state law.'” Winkler v. Madison Cty., 893 F.3d 877, 890 (6th Cir. 2018) (quoting Shadrick v. Hopkins Cty., 805 F.3d 724, 736 (6th Cir. 2015)).

         1. Dismissal of ...


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