United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND GRANTING LEAVE TO
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
December 4, 2019, Plaintiff Bobby Dean Oliver, who is
incarcerated at the Hardin County Correctional Facility in
Savannah, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion to proceed
in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) The Court
subsequently issued an order granting leave to proceed in
forma pauperis and assessing the civil filing fee
pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 6.) The Clerk shall
record the Defendants as Police Officer Wesley Murphy and
alleges that Officer Murphy came to the Savannah Lodge, where
Oliver worked, and told Oliver that he “was under
arrest for sexual[l]y battering Kelli Sulivan.” (ECF
No. 1 at PageID 2.) Oliver contested the charge, but Murphy
arrested him. (Id.) Oliver states he is
“put[t]ing a lawsuit on both Wesley Murphy and Kelli
Sulivan, ” asks the Court “to let them . . . know
that a lawsuit is coming th[e]ir way, ” and requests
$10, 000, 000 in damages. (Id. at PageID 2-3.)
Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to
dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. §
assessing whether the complaint in this case states a claim
on which relief may be granted, the standards under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), as stated in Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009), and in Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007),
are applied. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71
(6th Cir. 2010). The Court accepts the complaint's
“well-pleaded” factual allegations as true and
then determines whether the allegations “plausibly
suggest an entitlement to relief.'” Williams v.
Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681). Conclusory allegations
“are not entitled to the assumption of truth, ”
and legal conclusions “must be supported by factual
allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Although
a complaint need only contain “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), Rule 8 nevertheless
requires factual allegations to make a
“‘showing,' rather than a blanket assertion,
of entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555 n.3.
se complaints are to be held ‘to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,' and
should therefore be liberally construed.”
Williams, 631 F.3d at 383 (quoting Martin v.
Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 712 (6th Cir. 2004)). Pro
se litigants, however, are not exempt from the
requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Wells v. Brown, 891 F.2d 591, 594 (6th Cir. 1989);
see also Brown v. Matauszak, 415 Fed.Appx. 608, 612,
613 (6th Cir. Jan. 31, 2011) (affirming dismissal of pro
se complaint for failure to comply with “unique
pleading requirements” and stating “a court
cannot ‘create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not
spelled out in his pleading'” (quoting Clark v.
Nat'l Travelers Life Ins. Co., 518 F.2d 1167, 1169
(6th Cir. 1975))).
filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
redress . . . .
state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege two
elements: (1) a deprivation of rights secured by the
“Constitution and laws” of the United States (2)
committed by a defendant acting under color of state law.
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 150
allegations are sparse, but he appears to allege that Officer
Murphy falsely arrested him for sexual battery. To sustain a
claim of false arrest, Oliver must show that the arresting
officer lacked probable cause to arrest him. Voyticky v.
Village of Timberlake, Ohio, 412 F.3d 669, 677 (6th Cir.
2005). Oliver does not allege whether Murphy had probable
cause (or a warrant) to arrest him. He alleges only that he
told Murphy he did not commit the crime, but Murphy still
arrested him. Without additional factual allegations as to
why Murphy apparently believed Oliver had sexually assaulted
Sulivan, the Court cannot determine whether Oliver has a
claim for false arrest.
however, may not proceed against Sulivan. Oliver does not
allege any action by Sulivan. When a complaint fails to
allege any action by a Defendant, it necessarily fails to
“state a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. Even if
Oliver seeks to hold Sulivan responsible under § 1983
for falsely reporting that Oliver had sexually assaulted her,
he may not do so. Based on Oliver's allegations, Sulivan
appears to be a private citizen and, therefore, generally not
amenable to suit under § 1983. See Brotherton v.
Cleveland, 173 F.3d 552, 567 (6th Cir. 1999). “In
order to be subject to suit under § 1983, [a]
defendant's actions must be fairly attributable to the
state.” Collyer v. Darling, 98 F.3d 211,
231-32 (6th Cir. 1997). Reporting a crime, even falsely, does
not transform a private ...