Hatcher v. Trotter
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS. Signed by Judge James D. Todd on 1/11/18. (skc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO DISMISS,
CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH
AND DENYING LEAVE TO APPEAL IN FORMA PAUPERIS
On March 15, 2017, Plaintiff Shamsideen Hatcher, a resident of Bristol, Virginia, filed
a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) After Plaintiff filed the
required application (ECF No. 6), U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward G. Bryant granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 7). On December 20, 2017, Magistrate Judge Bryant
issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R) in which he recommended the Court dismiss
the case sua sponte for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
(ECF No. 11.) Objections to the R&R were due within fourteen days, on or before January
8, 2018. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 6(a), (d). However, Plaintiff
has filed no objections.
Plaintiff has sued Captain Trotter, complaining of an incident that occurred at the
Whiteville Correctional Facility (WCF) in Whiteville, Tennessee.1 He alleges that he was
subjected to retaliation and denied his right to practice his religion, in violation of the First
Amendment. Specifically, the complaint alleges that on Sunday, January 1, 2017, another
inmate said something to Defendant Trotter that Trotter deemed offensive. In “anger and
retaliation,” (ECF No. 1 at 1), Trotter locked down the pod, which prevented Plaintiff from
attending church services that day.
The Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff had failed to state a claim for retaliation
under the First Amendment. Plaintiff specifically alleges that Trotter ordered the lockdown
in response to the speech of another inmate. There is no allegation that Trotter’s action was
in retaliation for Plaintiff’s protected speech or conduct. Magistrate Judge Bryant also found
that Plaintiff had failed to state a claim for violation of his First Amendment right to free
exercise of his religion. Plaintiff alleges merely that he was unable to attend Sunday services
on one occasion due to the lockdown. That one isolated occurrence simply does not rise to
the level of a First Amendment violation.
The Court agrees with Magistrate Judge Bryant’s conclusion that Plaintiff has failed
to state a claim under the First Amendment for retaliation or for violation of the right to
freely exercise his religion. Therefore, the Court ADOPTS the R&R. This case is
The complaint itself does not identify the facility at which the events complained of
occurred. However, a proposed summons later submitted by Plaintiff lists Trotter’s address as
the WCF (ECF No. 9), and the Court assumes that is also where the incident happened.
DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a claim on which
relief may be granted.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) and Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 24(a),
the Court CERTIFIES that an appeal by Plaintiff would not be taken in good faith and
DENIES leave to appeal in forma pauperis. Accordingly, if Petitioner files a notice of
appeal, he must also pay the entire $505 appellate filing fee or file a motion to proceed in
forma pauperis and supporting affidavit in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Clerk is directed to prepare a judgment.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/ James D. Todd
JAMES D. TODD
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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