United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
GREGORY A. GOFF a/k/a GREGORY ARNEZ GOFF, Plaintiff,
MADISON COUNTY, TENNESSEE, Defendant.
ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND GRANTING LEAVE TO
D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
December 17, 2019, Plaintiff Gregory A. Goff a/k/a Gregory
Arnez Goff, who is incarcerated at the Madison County
Criminal Justice Complex (CJC) in Jackson, 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 issued an order on December 19, 2019,
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. 4.) Goff sues Madison County.
alleges various problems with the conditions at the CJC,
including black mold and overcrowding of inmates, which he
asserts is a violation of the fire code. (ECF No. 1 at PageID
2.) He generally alleges that the following conditions
constitute cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the
Constitution: double-celling of inmates, confinement of
inmates for a week or longer in cells without hot water,
confinement in a “building unfit for human habitation,
” failure to maintain “minimum sanitary
conditions” in food-storage areas, failure to protect
inmates from violent attacks or provide adequate medical
care, and confinement of inmates in segregation for a week or
longer without justification. (Id.)
seeks $2 million in compensatory damages and asks the Court
to end the overcrowding and remove the black mold from the
CJC. (Id. at PageID 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
sues Madison County, which may be held liable only
if Goff's injuries were sustained pursuant to an
unconstitutional custom or policy. See Monell v.
Dep't. of Soc. Serv., 436 U.S. 658, 691-92 (1978).
To demonstrate municipal liability, a plaintiff “must
(1) identify the municipal policy or custom, (2) connect the
policy to the municipality, and (3) show that his particular
injury was incurred due to execution of that policy.”
Alkire v. Irving, 330 F.3d 802, 815 (6th Cir. 2003)
(citing Garner v. Memphis Police Dep't, 8 F.3d
358, 364 (6th Cir. 1993)). “[T]he touchstone of
‘official policy' is designed ‘to distinguish
acts of the municipality from acts of
employees of the municipality, and thereby make
clear that municipal liability is limited to ...