United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
HOLMES BELL, 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 amended
complaint (ECF No. 8) for failure to state a claim against
Defendants Peterson and Paletta. The Court will serve the
complaint against Defendants W. Smith, E. Smith, J. Gardner,
R. Gorman, P. Jensen, M. Turner, J. LeBarre, R. Gerlach, J.
Novak, E. Huss, S. Campbell, T. Doyle, T. Lambert, K.
Stevens, A. Platte, J. Fidler, (unknown) Erickson, G.
Collins, (unknown) McQueary, J. Paski, D. Gonzales, (unknown)
Anderson, (unknown) Beecher, (unknown) Lindsey, and (unknown)
is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections
(MDOC). Plaintiff is presently housed at the Carson City
Correctional Facility (DRF) in Carson City, Michigan. Some of
the events that form the basis for his complaint transpired
during his tenure at DRF. Others occurred while Plaintiff was
housed at the Ionia Correctional Facility (ICF) in Ionia,
complaint, Plaintiff sues several MDOC employees at ICF:
Warden Willie Smith; Deputy Warden Erica Huss; Residential
Unit Manager Eric Smith; Corrections Officers J. Gardner, R.
Gorman, and P. Jensen; Prison Counselor Marcus Turner; Nurse
Jody LaBarre; Dr. Roger Gerlach; and Librarian Joseph Novak.
Plaintiff also sues several MDOC employees at DRF: Warden
Sherman Campbell; Litigation Coordinator Daniel Gonzales;
Residential Unit Manager (unknown) Anderson; Assistant
Residential Unit Supervisors (unknown) Beecher and (unknown)
McQueary; Doctor (unknown) Doyle; Health Unit Manager T.
Lambert; Nurse K. Stevens; Library Technician A. Platte;
Sergeants (unknown) Fidler, (unknown) Collins, and (unknown)
Erickson; and Corrections Officer J. Paski. Plaintiff sues
Doctor Lindsey from the Duane L. Waters Hospital in Jackson,
Michigan. Plaintiff also sues two unknown parties: Unknown
Party 1, described as the onsite optometrist at ICF; and
Unknown Party 2, described as the Chief Medical Officer for
Corizon Healthcare. Finally, Plaintiff sues Attorneys Kevin
Peterson and Teresa Palettea from the Legal Writer Program.
complaint fails to comply with the mandate of Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 8 in that it is not a “short and plain
statement of the claim . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
In a rambling discourse spanning more than five years and
twenty-eight pages Plaintiff abandons the convention of
normal chronology, indiscriminately jumping from one claim to
another. Despite these pleading deficiencies, Plaintiff's
complaint succeeds in communicating the core of his claims:
that the Defendants have violated federal law or
Plaintiff's constitutional rights by failing to treat or
accommodate several serious eye conditions that plague him:
keratoconus, cataracts, photophobia, and
does not allege that he was denied treatment for his eye
conditions; instead, read liberally, his complaint alleges
that the treatment was so inadequate that it might as well
have been no treatment. According to Plaintiff, the
health-care-provider Defendants simply would not follow the
recommendations by outside specialists with regard to a
particular type of contact lens or corrective surgery.
Ultimately, the treatments employed, principally lenses that
plaintiff contends were inappropriate, permitted and perhaps
caused additional eye problems. Similarly, but perhaps of
lesser significance, Plaintiff indicates the solar shields
offered by Defendants to ameliorate the effects of his
photophobia were not always available and were significantly
inferior to sunglasses Plaintiff obtained on his own.
also alleges shortcomings in the Defendants'
accommodations of his disability. In some respects Plaintiff
contends they did not accommodate him at all. Plaintiff notes
that the shower was a particular hazard for him. Despite his
legal blindness, Plaintiff was compelled to shower with
groups of other prisoners. There were no ramps, no safety
rails, no handicap chairs, and no floor mats. Plaintiff
complains that Defendants at both ICF and DRF denied him the
use of a cane, requiring him instead to use other prisoners
as guides. Plaintiff states the other prisoners were not
always known to him and presented risks to his health and
safety. Plaintiff also complains that Defendants purposely
and knowingly housed him with other inmates that posed a
substantial risk of injury to Plaintiff. Plaintiff further
claims he was injured as a result.
claims that Defendants violated his First Amendment right of
access to the courts, first at ICF and then at DRF, when they
refused to permit him to use the legal writer program, a
program available to him because of his blindness. Plaintiff
alleges the Defendants' refusals as well as other harms
occasioned by Defendants were retaliatory for his filing of
Brown v. Prelesnik, No. 1:12-cv-873. Additionally,
at DRF, Plaintiff claims that Defendants would not let him
wear sunglasses in the law library to protect himself from
the headaches caused by his photophobia. Plaintiff alleges
that refusing him sunglasses in the law library effectively
denied him access to the courts.
also raises claims unrelated to his eye conditions. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants Shroad, Gorman, and Gardner were
deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical
need arising from not eating for an extended period of time;
that Defendants Huss, and Jensen deprived Plaintiff of
showers and yard and beat him or directed that others beat
him with no justification.
contends that the actions (or inaction) of the Defendants
violated his rights under the First, Eighth, Thirteenth,
Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments as well as his rights
under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with
Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act.
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 - ...