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Gant v. Romanowski

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

May 5, 2015

BRIAN GANT, Plaintiff,
v.
ROMANOWSKI, ET AL., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL

GEORGE CARAM STEEH, District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Brian Gant'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's claims relate to an amended judgment of sentence entered in his criminal case. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief and also to have the amended judgment of sentence vacated. For the reasons which follow, the complaint is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

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, thedefendant-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).

Plaintiff's complaint challenges his present incarceration. He argues that his amended judgment of sentence was entered under "erroneous circumstances" and should be vacated. The complaint necessarily challenges the validity of Plaintiff's sentence. A claim under § 1983 is an appropriate remedy for a state prisoner challenging a condition of his imprisonment. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 499 (1973). In Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994), the Supreme Court established that a state prisoner does not state a cognizable civil rights claim challenging his imprisonment if a ruling on his claim would necessarily render his continuing confinement invalid, until and unless the reason for his continued confinement has been reversed on direct appeal, called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254, or otherwise invalidated. See also Ruff v. Runyon, 258 F.3d 498, 502 (6th Cir. 2001) ( Heck holding applies equally to an action that would invalidate a federal conviction that has not been declared invalid or otherwise impugned). Because Plaintiff has not achieved a favorable termination of his criminal case, this complaint is barred by Heck.

Accordingly, the complaint is DISMISSED pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

SO ORDERED.


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