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Clark v. Madison County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

January 13, 2020

JOHN CLARK, Plaintiff,
v.
MADISON COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, Defendant.

          ORDER DISMISSING CASE, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS

          JAMES D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On October 7, 2019, Plaintiff John Clark, who at the time of filing was an inmate at the Madison County Criminal Justice Complex (CJC) in Jackson, Tennessee, filed a pro se “Motion to file a complaint pursuant to 42 USC 1983.”[1] (ECF No. 1.) Clark subsequently filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, which the Court granted. (ECF No. 8.) Clark sues the Madison County Sheriff's Department (MCSD).[2]

         Clark alleges that, while he was at the Penal Farm of the CJC, Sergeant Bullock made a remark to Officer Kiser that “they need to put a Rainbow Sign over the cell [Clark] was in.” (ECF No. 1 at PageID 1.) When Clark asked Bullock what he meant, Bullock stated that he “was talking to Officer Kiser.” (Id.) Clark asked Bullock not to make that statement again and grieved the incident to Lieutenant Graves, Captains Rudder and Wilson, and Sheriff John Mehr. (Id.)

         Clark also alleges that, while he was in an isolation cell, Officer Reed sexually harassed him “by calling me his Whore [and] talking about how big my booty was.” (Id. at PageID 2.) Clark alleges Reed made other sexually suggestive statements to him that were inappropriate and graphic, watched Clark while he showered, and that on one occasion the two “almost kissed.” (Id.) He alleges that “[i]t got to the point where i[t] was scary.” (Id.) Clark alleges Reed gave him special privileges at the Penal Farm, “as if I was his lover.” (Id. at PageID 2-3.) He wrote to two captains and a lieutenant at the Penal Farm “before it got any deeper.” (Id. at PageID 3.) Clark alleges Reed continued to make comments towards him and flirt with him. (Id.)

         Clark does not state what relief he seeks in this lawsuit.

         The Court is required to screen prisoner complaints and to dismiss any complaint, or any portion thereof, if the complaint

(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 such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         In 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.

         “Pro 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))).

         The Court construes Clark's complaint as brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides:

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 . . . .

         To 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 ...


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