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Jordan v. Lee

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

January 13, 2020

CARL E. JORDAN, Plaintiff,
BILL B. LEE, Governor of the State of Tennessee, in his official and individual capacities, et al., Defendants.


          Aleta A. Trauger United States District Judge

         Carl. E. Jordan filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Governor Bill B. Lee; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David B. Rausch; Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery, III; the State of Tennessee; and an unspecified number of John and Jane Does. (Doc. No. 1). The plaintiff is a resident of Nashville, Tennessee.

         This action presents a constitutional challenge to the Tennessee Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender Registration and Tracking Act, as amended, Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 40-39-201 - 218 (2019) (“the Act”), among other claims.

         I. Screening Standard

         Because the plaintiff is proceeding as a pauper in this action, the court must conduct an initial review of the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and dismiss it or any portion of it that is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. In assessing whether the complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted, the court applies the standards under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, as construed by Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007). See Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding that “the dismissal standard articulated in Iqbal and Twombly governs dismissals for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)] because the relevant statutory language tracks the language in Rule 12(b)(6)”).

         “Pro se complaints are to be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, and should therefore be liberally construed.” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). 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, 613 (6th Cir. 2011) (“[A] court cannot create a claim which [a plaintiff] has not spelled out in his pleading”) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted); Payne v. Sec'y of Treas., 73 Fed.Appx. 836, 837 (6th Cir. 2003) (affirming sua sponte dismissal of complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) and stating, “[n]either this court nor the district court is required to create Payne's claim for her”).

         II. Section 1983 Standard

         The plaintiff seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a claim under § 1983, the plaintiff must allege and show: (1) that he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981) (overruled in part by Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 330 (1986)); Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155-56 (1978); Black v. Barberton Citizens Hosp., 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th Cir. 1998). Both parts of this two-part test must be satisfied to support a claim under § 1983. See Christy v. Randlett, 932 F.2d 502, 504 (6thCir. 1991).

         III. Alleged Facts

         The complaint alleges that the plaintiff, a “Black American Citizen, ” was released from state prison on May 2, 2005, after the expiration of his thirty-five year sentence. The plaintiff had been imprisoned for the crimes of second degree murder, armed robbery, and aggravated rape committed by the plaintiff on July 11, 1980.

         On May 2, 2005, an unidentified employee of the Tennessee Department of Correction told the plaintiff that he had to report to the Metropolitan Davidson County Sheriff's Department to be added to the sex offender registry.

         Since his release from incarceration, the plaintiff has been arrested for failure to report his change of address. He received ten days of imprisonment in the Davidson County Jail for failing to pay the $150 fee required under the sex offender registry. He later was arrested again and received three days of imprisonment in the Davidson County Jail. In 2016, the plaintiff was denied an employment opportunity because he is on the registry.

         On October 7, 2018, the plaintiff wrote to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (“TBI”) and requested to be removed from the sex offender registry. On October 19, 2019, the TBI responded, denying the plaintiff's request because he committed a sexually violent offense and therefore must continue to register for life while living in Tennessee unless his conviction is overturned or he is exonerated of his sexual conviction.[1]

         In April 2019, the plaintiff was denied a trip upon a cruise ship because he is on the registry. On April 22, 2019, the plaintiff ...

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