United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint
for failure to state a claim against Defendants Thomas and
Mackie. The Court will serve the complaint against Defendant
Zachary Taylor presently is incarcerated at the Oaks
Correctional Facility (ECF). He sues the following ECF
officials: Correctional Officer (unknown) Carney; Resident
Unit Manager J. Thomas, and Warden T. Mackie.
alleges that he had been having difficulty with Defendant
Carney for some time. Over the period of two months,
Defendant Carney allegedly made disparaging comments about
Plaintiff and his father and ordered a misconduct ticket
issued against Plaintiff, which Plaintiff did not believe he
deserved. Plaintiff alleges that he complained to Defendant
Thomas about the conflict with Defendant Carney and asked to
be moved to a different housing unit to avoid further
problems with Carney. Thomas refused to transfer Plaintiff.
unspecified date in 2016, Plaintiff was ordered to allow
himself to be handcuffed and escorted out of his cell, so
that certain items could be removed from the cell. Plaintiff
apparently complied with the order to be handcuffed, but he
spit in Defendant Carney's face. Defendant Carney
allegedly responded by hitting Plaintiff in the face with
sufficient force to cause Plaintiff's head to hit the
floor and split open. Carney then ground Plaintiff's head
into the floor, causing his face to be smeared with blood.
Carney grabbed Plaintiff's right wrist and twisted
backward and upward, causing deep, red abrasions and bruising
on Plaintiff's right wrist. When Plaintiff complaint that
Carney was hurting his wrist, Carnet responded, “Shut
up or I'll crack your f**king head open again.”
(Statement in Supp. of Compl., ECF No. 1-1, Page ID.8.) As a
result of Defendant Carney's actions, Plaintiff was taken
to health care, where he was kept under observation for 12
hours. In addition, Plaintiff had bruising and deep, red
grooves on his wrist that remained for four or five days.
contends that Defendant Carney used excessive force, in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. He also alleges that
Defendant Thomas knew of Plaintiff's bad relationship
with Defendant Carney, but did nothing to protect Plaintiff
from Carney. For relief, Plaintiff seeks $250, 000 in
Failure to state a claim
complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it
fails “‘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)). While a complaint need not contain
detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations
must include more than labels and conclusions.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”). The
court must determine whether the complaint contains
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 679. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent
to a “‘probability requirement, ' . . . it
asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged - but it has not ‘show[n]' - that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Hill
v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding
that the Twombly/Iqbal plausibility standard applies
to dismissals of prisoner cases on initial review under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(I)).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the federal
Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was
committed by a person acting under color of state law.
West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Street
v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir.
1996). Because § 1983 is a method for vindicating
federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself,
the first step in an action under § 1983 is to identify
the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed.
Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).
It is a
basic pleading essential that a plaintiff attribute factual
allegations to particular defendants. See Twombly,
550 U.S. at 544 (holding that, in order to state a claim, a
plaintiff must make sufficient allegations to give a
defendant fair notice of the claim). Where a person is named
as a defendant without an allegation of specific conduct, the
complaint is subject to dismissal, even under the liberal
construction afforded to pro se complaints. See
Frazier v. Michigan, 41 F. App'x 762, 764 (6th Cir.
2002) (dismissing the plaintiff's claims where the
complaint did not allege with any degree of specificity which
of the named defendants were personally involved in or
responsible for each alleged violation of rights);
Griffin v. Montgomery, No. 00-3402, 2000 WL 1800569,
at *2 (6th Cir. Nov. 30, 2000) (requiring allegations of
personal involvement against each defendant)); Rodriguez
v. Jabe, No. 90-1010, 1990 WL 82722, at *1 (6th Cir.
June 19, 1990) (“Plaintiff's claims against those
individuals are without a basis in law as the complaint is
totally devoid of allegations as to them which would suggest
their involvement in the events leading to his
injuries.”); see also Wright v. Smith, 21 F.3d
496, 501 (2d Cir. 1994); Krych v. Hvass, 83 F.
App'x 854, 855 (8th Cir. 2003); Potter v. Clark,
497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir. 1974); Williams v.
Hopkins, No. 06-14064, 2007 WL 2572406, at *4 (E.D.
Mich. Sept. 6, 2007); McCoy v. McBride, No.
3:96-cv-227RP, 1996 WL 697937, at *2 (N.D. Ind. Nov. 5,
1996); Eckford-El v. Toombs, 760 F.Supp. 1267,
1272-73 (W.D. Mich. 1991). Plaintiff fails to even to mention
Defendant Mackie in the body of his complaint. His
allegations therefore fall far short of the minimal pleading
standards under Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 (requiring “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief”).
to the extent that he intends to suggest that Defendant
Mackie is liable for Defendant Carney's conduct because
of his failure to supervise his subordinates, Plaintiff fails
to state a claim. Government officials may not be held liable
for the unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates under
a theory of respondeat superior or vicarious liability.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676; Monell v. New York City
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691(1978);
Everson v. Leis, 556 F.3d 484, 495 (6th Cir. 2009).
A claimed constitutional violation must be based upon active
unconstitutional behavior. Grinter v. Knight, 532
F.3d 567, 575-76 (6th Cir. 2008); Greene v. Barber,
310 F.3d 889, 899 (6th Cir. 2002). The acts of one's
subordinates are not enough, nor can supervisory liability be
based upon the mere failure to act. Grinter, 532
F.3d at 576; Greene, 310 F.3d at 899; Summers v.
Leis, 368 F.3d 881, 888 (6th Cir. 2004). Moreover,
§ 1983 liability may not be imposed simply because a
supervisor denied an administrative grievance or failed to
act based upon information contained in a grievance. See
Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999).
“[A] plaintiff must plead that each Government-official
defendant, through the official's own individual actions,
has violated the Constitution.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 676. Plaintiff has failed to allege that Defendant
Mackie engaged in any active unconstitutional behavior.
Accordingly, he fails to state a claim against Defendant
allegations against Defendant Thomas also fail to state a
claim. The Eighth Amendment imposes a constitutional
limitation on the power of the states to punish those
convicted of crimes. Punishment may not be
“barbarous” nor may it contravene society's
“evolving standards of decency.” Rhodes v.
Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 345-46 (1981). The Amendment,
therefore, prohibits conduct by prison officials that
involves the “unnecessary and wanton infliction of
pain.” Ivey v. Wilson, 832 F.2d 950, 954 (6th
Cir. 1987) (per curiam) (quoting Rhodes, 452 U.S. at
346). The deprivation alleged must result in the denial of
the “minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities.” Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 347; see
also Wilson v. Yaklich, 148 F.3d 596, 600-01 (6th Cir.
1998). The Eighth Amendment is only concerned with
“deprivations of essential food, medical care, or
sanitation” or “other conditions intolerable for