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Warfield v. Washburn

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

January 7, 2020

ANTONIO J. WARFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
RUSSELL WASHBURN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          ALETA A. TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Antonio J. Warfield, then an inmate at Trousdale Turner Correctional Center in Hartsville, Tennessee, [1] filed this pro se civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. No. 1.) He names seven Trousdale Turner officials as defendants-Russell Washburn, Shane Cosby, S. Roach, Daniel Jenkins, Nakynia Jackson, Sergeant Hudson, and Sergeant Lester. (Id. at 2-3.) He also refers to Case Manager Jones as a defendant in the body of the complaint. (Id. at 5.) The plaintiff filed an application to proceed in this court without prepaying fees and costs. (Doc. No. 6.)

         I. Application to Proceed as a Pauper

         The court may authorize a prisoner to file a civil suit without prepaying the filing fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Because it appears from the plaintiff's in forma pauperis application that he cannot pay the full filing fee in advance, his application (Doc. No. 6) will be granted. The $350.00 filing fee will be assessed as directed in the accompanying order. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1).

         II. Initial Review

         Under the screening requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the court must review and dismiss the complaint 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. § 1915A. The court must also 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

         The plaintiff's allegations primarily pertain to several disciplinary convictions issued by Trousdale Turner officials.

         1. Alleged Tampering with Security Equipment

         The plaintiff alleges that, on July 3, 2019, he had a “misunderstanding” with Assistant Warden Pittman. (Doc. No. 1 at 5.) Pittman told Sergeants Lester and Cockrell to put the plaintiff in a holding cell at intake to “cool off.” (Id.) Four Trousdale Turner officials-Sergeant Lester, Case Manager Jenkins, Unit Manager Roach, and Case Manager Jones-retrieved the plaintiff two hours later and moved him to a “small shower” in the segregation unit for five hours as punishment. (Id. at 5-6.) Lieutenant William saw the plaintiff in the shower and told him that the four Trousdale Turner officials were “wrong for holding him [in] the shower for over 5 hours.” (Id. at 6.) William called Captain Maxwell over the radio to come see the plaintiff in the shower, and Maxwell told William to let the plaintiff out and send him back to this cell. (Id.) The plaintiff returned to his cell at 1:30 am. on July 4. (Id.)

         The next day, Sergeant Lester and Case Manager Jenkins came to the plaintiff's cell and told him that Captain Maxwell was “wrong for sending him back to his cell.” (Id.) Lester and Jenkins told the plaintiff he was going to segregation. (Id.) The plaintiff asked why, and they told him he would “find out when [he got] over there to the hole.” (Id.)

         After Sergeant Lester and Case Manager Jenkins put the plaintiff in a segregation cell, Jenkins told the plaintiff that he was there for “tampering with security equipment.” (Id. at 7.)

         Jenkins gave the plaintiff a copy of a disciplinary report dated July 3, 2019, allegedly reading as follows:

On 7/3/2019 at approximately 1100 hours, I case manager Jenkins was conducting a cell search of D-A-107. During the cell search I discovered that the locking mechanism had a cardboard substance preventing it from securing properly. Inmate Antonio Warfield #483286 is assigned to this cell and was currently living in the ...

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