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Patrick v. State

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 5, 2015

JERRY PATRICK, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF MICHIGAN and DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL

VICTORIA A. ROBERTS, District Judge.

I.

Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Jerry Patrick's pro se civil rights complaint filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is proceeding without prepayment of the filing fee in this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Plaintiff claims that he is being excluded from training for certain desirable prison jobs based upon his race. He names two defendants, the State of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Corrections. Plaintiff seeks monetary and injunctive relief. For the reasons which follow, the complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

II.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint set forth "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " as well as "a demand for the relief sought." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), (3). The purpose of this rule is to "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) ( quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). While this notice pleading standard does not require "detailed" factual allegations, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, it does require more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions or "an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "A pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Id. ( quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s]' devoid of further factual enhancement.'" Id. ( quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

Plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee for this action. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), the court is required to sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint before service on a defendant if it determines that the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Similarly, the Court is required to dismiss a complaint seeking redress against government entities, officers, and employees that it finds to be frivolous or 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. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).

To state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) he was deprived of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the federal Constitution or laws of the United States, and (2) the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of state law. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155-57 (1978). A pro se civil rights complaint is to be construed liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).

III.

Plaintiff names two defendants, the state of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Corrections. The Eleventh Amendment bars civil rights actions against a state and its agencies and departments unless the state has waived its immunity and consented to suit or Congress has abrogated that immunity. See Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989). The State of Michigan has not consented to being sued in civil rights actions in the federal courts, Johnson v. Unknown Dellatifa, 357 F.3d 539, 545 (6th Cir. 2004) ( citing Abick v. Michigan, 803 F.2d 874, 877 (6th Cir. 1986)), and Congress did not abrogate state sovereign immunity when it enacted 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Chaz Const., LLC v. Codell, 137 F.App'x 735, 743 (6th Cir. 2005). Eleventh Amendment immunity "bars all suits, whether for injunctive, declaratory or monetary relief" against a state and its agencies. Thiokol Corp. v. Dep't of Treasury, 987 F.2d 376, 381 (6th Cir. 1993). Thus, Plaintiff may not maintain a § 1983 suit against the state of Michigan or the Michigan Department of Corrections.

IV.

The complaint is summarily dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b).

SO ORDERED.


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