Marlow v. United States Marshal Service
MEMORANDUM & ORDER. Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis 1 is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ASSESSED the civil filing fee of $350.00. The custodian of Plaintiff's inmate trust account is DIRECTED to submit the filing fee to the Clerk in the manner set forth. Judgment Order to follow. Signed by District Judge Charles E. Atchley, Jr on 6/4/21. (c/m Nathaniel S Marlow 385837 BLOUNT COUNTY DETENTION CENTER 920 E LAMAR ALEXANDER PARKWAY MARYVILLE, TN 37804, custodian of inmate accounts and USAO)(ADA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
NATHANIEL S. MARLOW,
UNITED STATES MARSHAL SERVICE,
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
The Court is in receipt of a pro se prisoner’s complaint filed under the doctrine announced
in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) [Doc.
2], and a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1]. The Court will address Plaintiff’s
motion prior to screening the complaint in accordance with the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”). See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
MOTION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS
Plaintiff has not submitted the proper documents in support of his motion to proceed in
forma pauperis. Specifically, he has not presented a certified copy of his inmate trust account for
the six-month period preceding his complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2). Plaintiff alleges, however,
that he is housed at the Blount County Detention Center, and that officials there refuse to provide
him with a certified copy of his inmate trust account despite this Court’s explicit orders to do so
[See Docs. 6 and 7]. Additionally, the Court notes that Plaintiff is a federal pretrial detainee who
has been deemed indigent and appointed counsel in his criminal case [See, e.g., United States of
America v. Nathan S. Marlow, 3:18-CR-6-RLJ-DCP, Doc. 9]. Therefore, the Court will assume
that Plaintiff lacks sufficient financial resources to pay the filing fee in this action. Accordingly,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, Plaintiff’s motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1]
will be GRANTED.
Plaintiff will be ASSESSED the civil filing fee of $350.00. The custodian of Plaintiff’s
inmate trust account will be DIRECTED to submit to the Clerk, U.S. District Court, 800 Market
Street, Suite 130, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902 as an initial partial payment, the greater of: (a)
twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly deposits to Plaintiff’s inmate trust account; or (b)
twenty percent (20%) of the average monthly balance in his inmate trust account for the six-month
period preceding the filing of the complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b) (1) (A) and (B). Thereafter, the
custodian of Plaintiff’s inmate trust account shall submit twenty percent (20%) of Plaintiff’s
preceding monthly income (or income credited to Plaintiff’s trust account for the preceding
month), but only when such monthly income exceeds ten dollars ($10.00), until the full filing fee
of three hundred fifty dollars ($350.00) has been paid to the Clerk. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(b)(2) and
To ensure compliance with this fee-collection procedure, the Clerk will be DIRECTED to
mail a copy of this memorandum and order to the custodian of inmate accounts at the institution
where Plaintiff is now confined, and to the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of
Tennessee. This order shall be placed in Plaintiff’s prison file and follow him if he is transferred
to another correctional institution. The Clerk also will be DIRECTED to provide a copy to the
Court’s financial deputy.
ALLEGATIONS OF COMPLAINT
Plaintiff alleges that the Blount County Detention Center has subjected him to twenty-three
separate conditions of confinement that violate his constitutional rights [See Doc. 2 p. 3-8].
Plaintiff maintains that the United States Marshals Service (“the Marshals Service”) is the entity
that has housed him in the facility, and thus, is ultimately responsible for the conditions Plaintiff
experiences [See id.]. He asks the Court to award him monetary damages, force the United States
Marshals Service to move him to another holding facility, and to revoke the federal housing
contract with the Blount County Detention Center [Id. at 8].
Under the PLRA, district courts must screen prisoner complaints and sua sponte dismiss
any claims that are “frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted,” or “seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b); see also Randolph v. Campbell, 25 F. App’x 261, 263 (6th Cir. 2001) (holding
PLRA screening procedures apply even if plaintiff pays entire filing fee). “[T]he dismissal
standard articulated” by the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) “governs dismissals for failure state a claim under [28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A] because the relevant statutory language tracks the language
in [Federal Rule of Civil Procedure] 12(b)(6).” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470–71 (6th Cir.
2010). Thus, to survive an initial review under the PLRA, a complaint “must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must establish that he was
deprived of a federal right by a person acting under color of state law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Braley
v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990) (stating that “Section 1983 does not itself
create any constitutional rights; it creates a right of action for the vindication of constitutional
guarantees found elsewhere”).
Courts liberally construe pro se pleadings filed in civil rights cases and “hold [them] to less
stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520 (1972). Rather, all that is required is “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 544, 570. Allegations that give rise to a mere possibility that
a plaintiff might later establish undisclosed facts supporting recovery, however, are not well-pled
and do not state a plausible claim. Id. Further, “formulaic [and conclusory] recitations of the
elements of a . . . claim,” which are not supported by specific facts are insufficient to state a
plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681.
The Marshals Service is responsible for “the safe-keeping of any person arrested  or held
under authority of any enactment of Congress pending commitment to an institution.” 18 U.S.C.
§ 4086. In carrying out its duty, the Director of the Marshals Service is broadly authorized to
acquire “adequate and suitable detention space, health care and other services and materials
required to support prisoners under the custody of the U.S. Marshal who are not housed in Federal
facilities.” 28 C.F.R. § 0.111(o). Courts will not interfere with the U.S. Marshal’s exercise of
discretion as where to place a federal pretrial detainee absent extraordinary circumstances. See
United States v. Espinoza-Arevalo, No. 14-00332-02-CR-W-BP, 2015 WL 9598299, at *3 (W.D.
Mo. Dec. 30, 2015) (recognizing that the Marshals Service has “broad authority to determine
where to house it prisoners”); Moyers v. Shudan, No. 3:07-cv-393, 2009 WL 1813969, at *2 (E.D.
Tenn. June 24, 2009) (denying the plaintiff's motion “to order the U.S. Marshals Service to house
him in a detention center other than the Blount County Detention Center while plaintiff is in East
Tennessee for the trial of this action,” and noting that the “housing of federal prisoners pending
court proceedings is within the discretion of the U.S. Marshals Service and this Court will not
interfere with that discretion, absent extraordinary circumstances”).
The Court finds that the U.S. Marshal’s placement of Plaintiff in the Blount County
Detention Center does not constitute an extraordinary circumstance warranting judicial
intervention. Plaintiff does not allege, and there is no reason for the Court to infer, that the
Marshals Service has any input on or responsibility for the conditions Plaintiff experiences dayto-day at the Blount County Detention Center.
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s allegations in this
complaint against the Marshals Service are frivolous and fail to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted. 1
For the reasons set forth above:
Plaintiff’s motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1] is GRANTED;
Plaintiff is ASSESSED the civil filing fee of $350.00;
The custodian of Plaintiff’s inmate trust account is DIRECTED to submit the filing
fee to the Clerk in the manner set for above;
The Clerk is DIRECTED to mail a copy of this memorandum opinion and order
to the custodian of inmate accounts at the institution where Plaintiff is now
confined, to the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee;
Because Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under
§ 1983 and his allegations are frivolous, this action is DISMISSED pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A; and
The Court CERTIFIES that any appeal from this action would not be taken in good
faith and would be totally frivolous. See Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Appellate
/s/ Charles E. Atchley Jr.
CHARLES E. ATCHLEY JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff has a separate lawsuit pending against the Blount County Detention Center, the Blount
County Sheriff, and the Chief of the Blount County Detention Center [See Marlow v. Blount Cty.
Jail, et al., 3:21-CV-151-DCLC-HBG].
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