United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
ANTHONY L. RENDINA, Plaintiff,
RONALD SEALS, RHETT RUTLEDGE, IAN MORLAN, KYLE MILLER, TREVOR TARWATER, DAVID BUCHANAN, FNU COLE, FNU ROSS, LNU JOE, FNU BALLARD, and FNU MAPLES, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. VARLAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court is in receipt of a pro se prisoner's complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. 1], a motion for leave to
proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 4], and a motion to
appoint counsel [Doc. 5]. The Court will first address
Plaintiff's motions before screening the complaint in
accordance with the Prison Litigation Reform Act
motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is
unaccompanied by a certified copy of his inmate trust account
for the previous six-month period [Doc. 4]. Plaintiff
contends, however, that staff at the Sevier County Jail,
where he is housed, refuse to comply with the Court's
order to produce the inmate account statement [See
Doc. 7]. Accordingly, the Court will presume that Plaintiff
lacks sufficient financial resources to pay the filing fee,
and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, this motion [Doc. 4]
will be GRANTED.
Plaintiff is an inmate in the Sevier County Jail, he will be
ASSESSED the civil filing fee of $350.00.
The custodian of Plaintiff's inmate trust account will be
DIRECTED to submit to the Clerk, U.S.
District Court, 800 Market Street, Suite 130, Knoxville,
Tennessee 37902, as an initial partial payment, the greater
of: (a) twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly deposits
to Plaintiff's inmate trust account; or (b) twenty
percent (20%) of the average monthly balance in his inmate
trust account for the six-month period preceding the filing
of the complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b) (1) (A) and (B).
Thereafter, the custodian of Plaintiff's inmate trust
account shall submit twenty percent (20%) of Plaintiff's
preceding monthly income (or income credited to
Plaintiff's trust account for the preceding month), but
only when such monthly income exceeds ten dollars ($10.00),
until the full filing fee of three hundred fifty dollars
($350.00) has been paid to the Clerk. 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(b)(2) and 1914(a).
ensure compliance with this fee-collection procedure, the
Clerk will be DIRECTED to mail a copy of
this memorandum and order to the custodian of inmate accounts
at the institution where Plaintiff is now confined and to the
Attorney General for the State of Tennessee. This order shall
be placed in Plaintiff's prison file and follow him if he
is transferred to another correctional institution. The Clerk
also will be DIRECTED to provide a copy to
the Court's financial deputy.
of counsel in a civil proceeding is not a constitutional
right, but a privilege justified only in exceptional
circumstances. Lavado v. Keohane, 992 F.2d 601,
605-06 (6th Cir. 1993). A district court has discretion to
determine whether to appoint counsel for an indigent party.
Reneer v. Sewell, 975 F.2d 258, 261 (6th Cir. 1992).
In exercising that discretion, the district court should
consider the nature of the case, whether the issues are
legally or factually complex, and the party's ability to
present his claims. Lavado, 992 F.2d at 605-06.
After considering these factors, the Court finds that
appointment of counsel is not warranted in this case.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel [Doc.
5] is DENIED.
was confined to Max 2, cell 216, at the Sevier County Jail
(“SCJ”) on April 6, 2019 [Doc. 1 p. 1]. On that
date, the toilet in his cell would not stop running, so
Correctional Officer (“CO”) David Buchanan cut
off the water to his cell [Id.]. On 11 separate
dates between April 7 and May 5, Plaintiff submitted written
requests to Defendants Buchanan, Miller, Morlan, and
Rutledge, asking that the toilet be repaired or that water be
provided to him [Id. at 2]. Plaintiff received no
separate dates between April 8 and May 4, Plaintiff made the
same requests from Defendants Ross, Cole, Tarwater, Morlan,
and Rutledge [Id.]. On April 7, 21, and 25,
Plaintiff mailed formal requests to Defendants Morlan,
Rutledge, and Seals asking them to repair his toilet or move
him to a cell with water [Id.]. Plaintiff wrote
formal requests to Defendant Maples on April 6, 16, and 23,
requesting that his toilet be repaired [Id].
Defendant Maples told Plaintiff that he would repair
Plaintiff's toilet on April 17, 2019, but he failed to do
so [Id.]. Thereafter, Plaintiff refused to go back
into his cell but was ultimately forced into the cell by
Defendant Buchanan [Id.]. The water remained shut
off in Plaintiff's cell for 30 consecutive days until
Defendant Maples repaired the toilet on May 6, 2019
[Id. at 1].
the PLRA, district courts must screen prisoner complaints and
sua sponte dismiss any claims that are frivolous or
malicious, fail to state a claim for relief, or are against a
defendant who is immune. See, e.g., 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A; Benson v.
O'Brian, 179 F.3d 1014 (6th Cir. 1999). The
dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and in
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)
“governs dismissals for failure state a claim under [28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A] because the
relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule
12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468,
470-71 (6th Cir. 2010). Thus, to survive an initial review
under the PLRA, a ...