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Hawkins v. Heyns

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

February 12, 2015

JESSIE HAWKINS, #134265, Plaintiff,
DANIEL A. HEYNS, Defendant.


DAVID R. GRAND, Magistrate Judge.

Before the Court is the Motion for Dismissal filed by Defendant Daniel Heyns ("Heyns") on November 3, 2014. (Doc. #10). On January 23, 2015, pro se Plaintiff Jessie Hawkins ("Hawkins"), an incarcerated person, filed a response this motion. (Doc. #15). No reply was filed. An Order of Reference was entered on August 27, 2014, referring all pretrial matters to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b). (Doc. #5).

Generally, the Court will not hold a hearing on a motion in a civil case in which a party is in custody. See E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(f). Here, the Court finds that the facts and legal issues are adequately presented in the briefs and on the record, and it declines to order a hearing at this time.


For the reasons set forth below, IT IS RECOMMENDED that Heyns' Motion for Dismissal [10] be GRANTED.


A. Background

This is a pro se civil rights action brought under 42 U.S.C. §1983 by Jessie Hawkins, a prisoner confined by the Michigan Department of Corrections ("MDOC"). (Doc. #1). The sole defendant in this action is MDOC Director Daniel Heyns. ( Id. ). Hawkins was incarcerated at the St. Louis Correctional Facility at the time he filed his complaint; however, all of the allegations in his complaint pertain to a time during which he was at Duane Waters Hospital ("DWH") recovering from back-to-back strokes. ( Id. at 5-8). Hawkins' complaint contains detailed allegations concerning an alleged assault he suffered while at DWH by a nurse and two guards, but it contains no allegations whatsoever against Heyns. ( Id. ). On November 3, 2014, Heyns filed the instant motion, arguing that Hawkins' complaint should be dismissed because he has not alleged the requisite level of personal involvement necessary for liability under §1983. (Doc. #10).

B. Standard of Review

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) tests a complaint's legal sufficiency. "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "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." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The plausibility standard "does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough fact to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of illegal [conduct]." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. Put another way, the complaint's allegations "must do more than create speculation or suspicion of a legally cognizable cause of action; they must show entitlement to relief." League of United Latin Am. Citizens v. Bredesen, 500 F.3d 523, 527 (6th Cir. 2007) (emphasis in original) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56).

In deciding whether a plaintiff has set forth a "plausible" claim, the Court must accept the factual allegations in the complaint as true. Id .; see also Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). That tenet, however, "is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice" to prevent a complaint from being dismissed on grounds that it fails to comport sufficiently with basic pleading requirements. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Howard v. City of Girard, Ohio, 346 F.Appx. 49, 51 (6th Cir. 2009). Ultimately, "[d]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

C. Analysis

In his motion, Heyns argues that Hawkins' claims against him should be dismissed because there are no allegations in the complaint that Heyns, individually and directly, violated Hawkins' Constitutional rights.[1] (Doc. #57). The Court agrees.

In order to demonstrate liability under §1983 as to any particular defendant, a plaintiff must first establish that that defendant acted under color of state law and that his actions violated rights secured by the Constitution and/or laws of the United States. See Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137 (1979). The plaintiff also must make a clear showing that the defendant was personally involved in the activity that forms the basis of the complaint. See Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 377 (1976); Bellamy v. Bradley, 729 F.2d 416, 421 (6th Cir. 1984). Moreover, §1983 liability cannot be premised upon mere allegations of respondeat superior, i.e., supervisory liability; rather, a defendant can only be liable under §1983 if the plaintiff shows that he personally participated in, or otherwise authorized, approved, or knowingly acquiesced in, the allegedly unconstitutional conduct. See Monell v. New York City Dept. of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978); Bellamy, 729 F.2d at 421. A supervisory official's awareness of a complaint of allegedly illegal conduct, and his subsequent failure to take corrective action, are insufficient to ...

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