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Chomos v. Palmer

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

April 30, 2015

MARK A. CHOMOS, Plaintiff,
v.
CARMEN PALMER et al., Defendants.

OPINION

PAUL L. MALONEY, Chief District Judge.

This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. 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. §§ 1915(e)(2), 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, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

Factual Allegations

Plaintiff Mark A. Chomos presently is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Michigan Reformatory (RMI). He sues the following RMI employees: Warden Carmen Palmer; Deputy Wardens Scott Schooley and Gregory Schipper; Grievance Coordinator K. Miller; Lieutenant (unknown) Bonn; Sergeant (unknown) Cunningham; Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor (ARUS) (unknown) Prince; and Correctional Officer (unknown) Jones.

Plaintiff alleges that, on November 29, 2014, he was assaulted by another prisoner. Officers Williams and Rinkey subdued Plaintiff and placed him in handcuffs. Defendant Sgt. Cunningham escorted Plaintiff to the medical unit for treatment of his wounds. Plaintiff's assailant was escorted to segregation by Officer Williams.

While Plaintiff was in the medical unit, Defendant Cunningham took numerous photographs of Plaintiff's injuries. Cunningham also took Plaintiff's bloody clothes from him. Plaintiff then told Cunningham that he wished to refuse protective custody.

Officer Streasick escorted Plaintiff from the medical unit to the cages located in the control center. Defendant Cunningham came to the cages to explain to Plaintiff that the assault looked bad on camera and that he was going to leave the decision about placement in temporary protective custody to Defendant Lt. Bonn, who would interview Plaintiff before leaving to go to the chow hall. At approximately 7:15 p.m., Officer Pulido escorted Plaintiff to temporary segregation, without the benefit of an interview with Bonn. In the segregation unit, Officer Shinaberger strip-searched Plaintiff. Shinaberger told Plaintiff to calm down and that he would be out of segregation by Monday morning, after Defendants Prince and Schooley returned to work. After Plaintiff was placed in his segregation cell, Officer Cunningham brought him replacement clothes. Cunningham again explained that the decision whether to place Plaintiff in segregation was left to Defendant Bonn.

On December 1, 2014, Plaintiff filed a grievance to the effect that inadequate staffing had led to the assault. Also that day, Plaintiff stopped Defendant Prince during rounds, asking about his placement in segregation. Defendant Prince responded that he had not seen any paperwork and did not know why Plaintiff was in segregation. Prince informed Plaintiff that he would look into the matter. Sometime later that day, Plaintiff wrote another grievance, this time claiming that he was being held in segregation without notice or other process. The following day, December 2, 2014, Plaintiff stopped Captain May during rounds, asking why he was still in segregation. Defendant May told Plaintiff that he would speak with Defendant Schooley to see why Plaintiff remained in segregation. On December 3, 2014, Plaintiff again stopped Defendant Prince to ask about his continued segregation. Prince again explained that he did not know why Plaintiff remains in segregation. At about 4:00 p.m. that same date, Defendant May stopped at Plaintiff's cell to inform Plaintiff that May could not find any paperwork about the segregation. During rounds that afternoon, Defendant Cunningham told Plaintiff that, on November 29, 2014, he had sent both Defendant Schooley and Defendant Prince an email, attaching the video of the assault.

On December 4, 2014, Plaintiff again stopped Prince, who repeated that he did not know why Plaintiff was in segregation. During his rounds after lunch on December 4, Defendant May informed Plaintiff that he would call Prince about why Plaintiff was still in segregation. Defendant May used a unit cordless phone to make the call while Plaintiff was watching. That evening, Plaintiff asked an unidentified person for envelopes for legal mail, but his request was denied.

On the morning of December 5, 2014, Plaintiff stopped Captain Cusack during rounds, again explaining his problem. Later that morning, Plaintiff again asked Defendant Prince about his continued segregation. Prince again denied knowledge of why Plaintiff was in segregation. Lieutenant Whitinger then promised Plaintiff that he would look into the matter. The following morning, December 6, 2014, Whitinger told Plaintiff that he could not find any paperwork about Plaintiff's segregation. Whitinger told Plaintiff to talk to Defendant Bonn in the afternoon. Plaintiff asked Defendant Bonn, who told Plaintiff that he could not have authorized the placement in segregation, as he was not working on November 29, 2014.

On December 7, 2014, Plaintiff wrote three grievances: (1) about an unspecified problem, naming Bonn; (2) about an alleged denial of access to the courts; and (3) about the denial of a haircut while in segregation. That afternoon, while on rounds, Defendant Jones refused Plaintiff's request to place the grievances in the outgoing mail, advising Plaintiff to send them the next day.[1] Plaintiff promptly wrote a grievance against Defendant Jones. On December 8, 2014, Plaintiff yet again spoke with Defendant Prince about his placement in segregation and about staff having refused to send out his grievances. Defendant Prince explained that he was backed up on investigations and would not be able to look into Plaintiff's concerns. Plaintiff then sent a letter to Defendant Palmer, complaining that he had been denied due process. Finally, on December 9, 2014, Plaintiff was released from segregation, after he signed a release from protective custody.

Plaintiff thereafter wrote a grievance about having been denied yard privileges during the eleven-day segregation period. He also filed a grievance against Palmer. Plaintiff complains that Defendants Palmer, Schooley and Miller all denied his grievances without interview or investigation. In addition, Defendant Schipper denied a grievance at Step II without investigation. Plaintiff appealed the denial of all grievances to Step III on February 10, 2015.

Plaintiff complains that Defendants Palmer, Schooley, Schipper, Prince, and Miller denied him his First Amendment right to redress of grievances, due process, and equal protection. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendants Bonn, Cunningham, violated his rights to due process and equal protection. In addition, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Jones denied him his right to redress of grievances under the First Amendment and denied him equal protection. Further, Plaintiff alleges that he was denied his right to access the courts when Jones refused to take his grievances in the afternoon and told him to wait until the ...


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