WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, Jr., Chief District Judge.
Josh Evans, an inmate of the Maury County Jail in Columbia, Tennessee, brings this pro se, in forma pauperis action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Maury County, Tennessee, alleging a violation of his civil and constitutional rights. (Doc. No. 1). The Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive relief. (
The complaint is before the Court for an initial review pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A.
I. PLRA Screening Standard
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court must dismiss any portion of a civil complaint filed in forma pauperis that fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, is frivolous, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Section 1915A similarly requires initial review of any "complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity,"
The Sixth Circuit has confirmed that the dismissal standard articulated by the Supreme Court in
Although pro se pleadings are to be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,
II. Section 1983 Standard
Plaintiff brings his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 creates a cause of action against any person who, acting under color of state law, abridges "rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws. . . ." To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege and show two elements: (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.
III. Alleged Facts
The complaint alleges that, while incarcerated at the Maury County Jail, the Plaintiff converted to Judaism and thereafter asked to be served kosher meals. According to the complaint, the jail staff fails to recognize the Plaintiff's religious conversion and refuses to provide the Plaintiff with kosher meals and, as a result, the Plaintiff is "being forced to eat foods that is [sic] against [his] religion." (Doc. No. 1 at 5-6).
A review of the Court's records shows that, on February 24, 2017, the Plaintiff brought a federal civil rights action against the Maury County Jail and Sheriff Bucky Rawland alleging essentially the same facts as those raised in the instant complaint.
The broad doctrine of res judicata encompasses both claim preclusion (res judicata) and issue preclusion (collateral estoppel).
After reviewing the Plaintiff's instant complaint, it appears that the Plaintiff has restated the same or similar allegations pertaining to the Maury County Jail's alleged refusal to provide him with kosher meals. The complaint names only Maury County as a Defendant and fails to allege that the Plaintiff's rights are being violated pursuant to a custom, practice, or policy of Maury County. As the Court explained in the Plaintiff's previous case, a claim against Sheriff Rawland in his official capacity is a claim against Maury County, the municipal entity that employs Sheriff Rawland, and such a claim requires that the Plaintiff allege that the alleged misconduct occurred pursuant to a custom, policy, or practice of Maury County.
For these reasons, the Court finds that the Plaintiff's complaint fails the PLRA initial screening. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. The Plaintiff's claims are barred by the doctrine of res judicata. In the absence of an actionable claim, the Court is obliged to dismiss the complaint sua sponte. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Accordingly, the Plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed with prejudice.
An appropriate Order will be entered.