Lynn v. Zanesville Police Department, 112520 OHSDC, C. A. 2:20-cv-5917

Docket NºCivil Action 2:20-cv-5917
Party NameJOHN A. LYNN, SR., Plaintiff, v. ZANESVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.
Judge PanelAlgenon L. Marbley, Chief Judge
Case DateNovember 25, 2020
CourtUnited States District Courts, 6th Circuit, Southern District of Ohio

JOHN A. LYNN, SR., Plaintiff,



Civil Action No. 2:20-cv-5917

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

November 25, 2020

Algenon L. Marbley, Chief Judge



Plaintiff, John A. Lynn, Sr., who is proceeding without the assistance of counsel, brings this action against the Zanesville Police Department and its employee Sergeant Lambos, seeking compensatory damages. This matter is before the Court for consideration of Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, which is GRANTED. (ECF No. 1.) Accordingly, it is ORDERED that Plaintiff be allowed to prosecute his action without prepayment of fees or costs and that judicial officers who render services in this action shall do so as if the costs had been prepaid.

This matter is also before the Court for the initial screen of Plaintiff's Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) to identify cognizable claims and to recommend dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint, or any portion of it, which is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). Having performed the initial screen, for the reasons that follow, it is RECOMMENDED that the Court DISMISS Plaintiff's current claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). However, it is further RECOMMENDED that Plaintiff be permitted to amend his Complaint to name as John Doe Defendants the individual officers who allegedly assaulted him, and that discovery as to those Doe Defendants' identities be expedited.


Plaintiff alleges that on July 19, 2019, he was arrested for trespassing by the Zanesville City Police and taken to a police station. He alleges that several officers were verbally abusive and threatened him with “problems” should Plaintiff not cooperate. Plaintiff then alleges that “the next thing [he] remember[s] is waking up in a cell with [seven] staples in my head.” (Compl. 5, ECF No. 1-1.) None of the officers would tell him how he was injured, and the officers allegedly told Plaintiff's sister when she called the station that Plaintiff fell. Sergeant Lambos allegedly “made jokes, saying I tripped over a horse[, ] also saying I fell over toys at home.” (Id. at 6.) Sergeant Lambos also told Plaintiff's sister to ask the records department to view video of the incident, but when she arrived at the records department, she was threatened with arrest. Plaintiff alleges his injuries were the result of being “beaten in jail.” (Id.) Plaintiff states he “want[s] the Court to take action against the Jail and everyone involved. I want to be compensated for my injury and continued problems from this assault.” (Id. at 7.)


Congress enacted 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the federal in forma pauperis statute, seeking to “lower judicial access barriers to the indigent.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). In doing so, however, “Congress recognized that ‘a litigant whose filing fees and court costs are assumed by the public, unlike a paying litigant, lacks an economic incentive to refrain from filing frivolous, malicious, or repetitive lawsuits.'” Id. at 31 (quoting Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989)). To address this concern, Congress included subsection (e)[1], which provides in pertinent part as follows: (2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that--

(B) the action or appeal--

(i) is frivolous or malicious; [or]

(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted .

. . .

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) & (ii); Denton, 504 U.S. at 31. Thus, § 1915(e) requires sua sponte dismissal of an action upon the Court's determination that the action is frivolous or malicious, or upon determination that the action fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

Further, to properly state a claim upon which relief may be granted, a plaintiff must satisfy the basic federal pleading requirements set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a). See also Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (applying Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standards to review under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Thus, Rule 8(a) “imposes legal and factual demands on the authors of complaints.” 16630 Southfield Ltd.,

P'Ship v. Flagstar Bank, F.S.B., 727 F.3d 502, 503 (6th Cir. 2013).

Although this pleading standard does not require “‘detailed factual allegations,' . . . [a] pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, '” is insufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A complaint will not “suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). Instead, to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter . . . to ‘state a claim to relief that is...

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