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Luesing v. Webber

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

July 15, 2015




I. Introduction

Plaintiff Keith I. Luesing commenced this action on May 18, 2015, by filing a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the Otsego County Jail in Gaylord, Michigan where defendant B. Webber is the jail administrator.

Plaintiff alleges in his pending complaint that he sent numerous kites[1] to defendant Webber about various matters, including Plaintiff’s physical and mental health and other issues pertaining to the conditions of life in jail. Plaintiff contends that Defendant does not act in compliance with jail standards. Plaintiff further alleges that there is no nurse at the jail and that it is almost impossible to ensure that his doctor’s orders are followed, that his follow-up appointments are kept, and that he does not run out of medication. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that there is no law library in the jail, and he appears to think that someone has tampered with his mail.

For relief, Plaintiff seeks treatment for his psychiatric and physical problems and a federal protective order. He claims that a protective order is necessary because his life is in danger, as he has been charged with murder, assault on police officers, resisting arrest, and obstruction of justice. Additionally, Plaintiff claims that he has been beaten four times since being arrested and that he was threatened by a state policeman. In an addendum to the complaint filed on June 4, 2015, Plaintiff seeks the following additional relief: appointment of an attorney, access to a law library, and help with litigation; an investigation of the housing, feeding, and treatment of inmates in Otsego County Jail; and a mental health care program for mentally ill offenders.

II. Analysis

A. Legal Framework

A Federal District Court is required to screen a prisoner’s complaint and to dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A; Flanory v. Bonn, 604 F.3d 249, 252 (6th Cir. 2010); Smith v. Campbell, 250 F.3d 1032, 1036 (6th Cir. 2001). A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).

“In determining whether a prisoner has failed to state a claim, [courts] construe his complaint in the light most favorable to him, accept his factual allegations as true, and determine whether he can prove any set of facts that would entitle him to relief.” Harbin-Bey v. Rutter, 420 F.3d 571, 575 (6th Cir. 2005). While a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, ” the “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (footnote and citations omitted). In other words, “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 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.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

B. The Due Process Claim

The Court construes Plaintiff’s complaint to allege that the conditions of confinement at the Otsego County Jail are unconstitutional.

1. Clearly Established Federal Law

The Supreme Court has stated that “[t]he Constitution ‘does not mandate comfortable prisons, ’ but neither does it permit inhumane ones, and it is now settled that ‘the treatment a prisoner receives in prison and the conditions under which he is confined are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment.’ ” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994) (internal and end citations omitted). The Amendment imposes duties on correctional officials to “provide humane conditions of confinement” and to “ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.” Id. They must also “ ‘take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates.’ ” Id. (quoting Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 526-27 (1984)).

Although “]t]he Eighth Amendment itself does not apply to pretrial detainees, ” Grabow v. County of Macomb, 580 F. App’x 300, 307 (6th Cir. 2014), “pretrial detainees are similarly protected under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Carl v. Muskegon County, 763 F.3d 592, 595 (6th Cir. 2014). “In short, both prisoners and pretrial detainees have a right not to have prison officials act with deliberate indifference toward their serious ...

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