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Baker v. Monroe County Jail

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville

January 2, 2020

MICHAEL ALLEN BAKER, Plaintiff,
v.
MONROE COUNTY JAIL, MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF, and MONROE COUNTY, TN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          CURTIS L. COLLIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The Court is in receipt of a pro se prisoner's complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. 2] and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1].

         I. MOTION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS

         It appears from Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis that he lacks sufficient financial resources to pay the filing fee. Accordingly, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, this motion [Doc. 1] is GRANTED.

         Because Plaintiff is an inmate in the Loudon County Jail, he is ASSESSED the civil filing fee of $350.00. The custodian of Plaintiff's inmate trust account is DIRECTED to submit to the Clerk, U.S. District Court, 800 Market Street, Suite 130, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37902, as an initial partial payment, whichever is 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 is directed to 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) as authorized under 28 U.S.C. § 1914(a) has been paid to the Clerk. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).

         To ensure compliance with this fee-collection procedure, the Clerk is DIRECTED to mail a copy of this memorandum and order to the custodian of inmate accounts at the institution where Plaintiff is now confined. The Clerk is DIRECTED to furnish a copy of this order to the Court's financial deputy. This order shall be placed in Plaintiff's prison file and follow him if he is transferred to another correctional institution.

         II. SCREENING

         A. PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

         While housed at the Monroe County Jail, Plaintiff “[g]ot into it with Cap. Davis” [Doc. 2 at 3-4]. Plaintiff alleges that Captain Davis “had other inmates attack” Plaintiff, leading to Plaintiff suffering a broken jaw and other injuries that required surgery at U.T. Hospital [Id.]. Plaintiff seeks monetary compensation for his pain and suffering [Id. at 5]. Named as Defendants in this action are the Monroe County Jail, the Monroe County Sheriff, and Monroe County, Tennessee [Id. at 3].

         B. SCREENING STANDARD

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“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 Atlantic Corporation 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 complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

         Courts liberally construe pro se pleadings filed in civil rights cases and hold them to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). However, allegations that give rise to a mere possibility that a plaintiff might later establish undisclosed facts supporting recovery are not well-pled and do not state a plausible claim. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570. Further, formulaic and conclusory recitations of the elements of a claim which are not supported by specific facts are insufficient to state a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681.

         In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must establish that he was deprived of a federal right by a person acting under color of state law. Braley v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990) (stating that “Section 1983 does not itself create any constitutional rights; it creates a right of action for the vindication of constitutional guarantees found elsewhere”).

         C. ...


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