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Durr v. Haralson

April 14, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Janet T. Neff


This is a civil rights action brought by a former state prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff has paid the entire filing fee. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, PUB. L. NO. 104-134, 110 STAT. 1321 (1996), the Court is required to dismiss any prisoner action brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff's pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff's allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these standards, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim against Defendants Mike Cox and Jennifer Granholm. The Court will also dismiss Plaintiff's due process claim against Carol Howes, (unknown) Haralson, (unknown) Utter, Margaret Ovellette, Rhonda Rider, A. Scott and P. Klee.

Plaintiff's remaining claims against Defendants Patricia Caruso, Carol Howes, Correctional Medical Services, Inc., (unknown) Haralson, (unknown) Utter, Margaret Ovellette, Rhonda Rider, A. Scott and P. Klee will be served.


I. Factual Allegations

Plaintiff, an African American, filed his complaint while he was incarcerated at Marquette Branch Prison. According to the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS), Plaintiff was discharged from prison on January 19, 2010.*fn1 Plaintiff complains of events that occurred at Camp Branch (CDW) in 2008. In his pro se complaint, Plaintiff sues the following CDW employees: Lieutenants (unknown) Haralson and (unknown) Utter; Margaret Ovellette; Nurse Rhonda L. Rider; A. Scott; Assistant Deputy Warden (ADW) P. Klee; Warden Carol Howes; and three unknown parties. Plaintiff also sues Correctional Medical Services, Inc. (CMS); MDOC Director Patricia Caruso; Michigan Attorney General Michael Cox and Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm.

On July 6, 2008, Plaintiff was kicked in the groin by another prisoner. When Plaintiff approached Defendant Haralson about his injury, Defendant Haralson refused to send Plaintiff to health care for medical attention. Plaintiff's genitals then swelled to the size of golf balls. On July 7, Plaintiff requested to be taken to the hospital because his urine was bloody but Defendant Utter rejected Plaintiff's request. Plaintiff also claims that Nurse Rider did not recognize Plaintiff's need for urgent medical care. On July 8, Defendant Ovellette allegedly failed to follow MDOC Policy Directive 03.04.100 (effective Feb. 14, 2005) and, thus, refused to give Plaintiff medical care.

Plaintiff further claims that CMS, ADW Klee and an unknown physician's assistant failed to provide medical care on July 8. Four days after the incident, Plaintiff was finally admitted to the hospital, where his left testicle was surgically removed.

Plaintiff asserts violations of his constitutional rights under the "First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments." (Compl. at 3-2, docket #1.) Plaintiff alleges that he was retaliated against by Defendants Klee and Haralson in violation of his First Amendment rights for attempting to file grievances for medical care. After he filed a grievance, those Defendants retaliated by concealing the racially motivated crime against Plaintiff. (Compl. at 3-1, docket #1.) As for his Eighth Amendment claim, Plaintiff argues that he was denied medical care for four days, and, thus, doctors had to remove a testicle. For his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment claims, Plaintiff states that CDW staff would not process his grievances in violation of his due process rights. Plaintiff also claims that Defendants intentionally discriminated against him because he is African American in violation of his equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff did not specify his claims under the Sixth and Ninth Amendments.

Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Caruso, Cox, Granholm and Howes did not adequately train and supervise staff. Plaintiff also argues that Defendants Caruso, Cox, Granholm and CMS enforced customs, policies and procedures that violated the Supremacy Clause. (Br. in Supp. at 7-8, docket #3.) Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants Caruso, Cox, Granholm and CMS intentionally discriminated against Plaintiff, as an African American, for exercising his constitutional rights. (Id.) Plaintiff finally argues that Defendant Haralson and "several staff members" conspired to retaliate against Plaintiff for attempting to file grievances and to receive medical care. (Attach. to Compl. at 11.)

Plaintiff requests injunctive and declaratory relief as well as monetary damages.

II. Failure to State a Claim

A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if "'it fails to give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations must include more than labels and conclusions. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) ("Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice."). The court must determine whether the complaint contains "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent to a "'probability requirement,'... it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged -- but it has not 'show[n]' -- that the pleader is entitled to relief." Ashcroft, 129 S.Ct. at 1950 (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2)).

To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the federal Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Street v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir. 1996). Because ยง 1983 is a method for vindicating federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself, the first step in an action under ...

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