United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
L. Maloney 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, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed for
failure to state a claim.
Robert Foster presently is incarcerated at the Ionia
Correctional Facility (ICF). He sues ICF Warden Willie Smith.
alleges that, on August 21, 2016, he was given a food tray
that was dirty. He allegedly tried to point out the dirty
food tray to Officers McNeely and Reese, but they ignored
him. Plaintiff then broke the tray into pieces because of his
anger and frustration caused by the alleged continuing abuse
of food service personnel and correctional officers. As the
result of Plaintiff's action in breaking the food tray,
Plaintiff was placed on food loaf, ostensibly in violation of
prison policy and the Eighth Amendment. On August 22, 2016,
Officer Watkins delivered food loaf to Plaintiff. Plaintiff
complains that Officer Watkins continues to antagonize him
and that Watkins was one of several officers who attempted to
kill Plaintiff in 2001, by overdosing him with eight shots of
alleges that Defendant Smith must be held accountable for the
actions of his employees. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and
punitive damages, together with an order directing that
Plaintiff's meals be delivered by food-service rather
than custody staff.
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);
Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549
(6th Cir. 2009). 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
fails to make specific factual allegations against Defendant
Smith, other than his claim that Smith failed to supervise
his subordinates. 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
Smith engaged in any active unconstitutional behavior.
Accordingly, he fails to state a claim against him.
conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform
Act, the Court determines that Plaintiff's action will be
dismissed for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b), and 42 U.S.C. §
Court must next decide whether an appeal of this action would
be in good faith within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3). See McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d
601, 611 (6th Cir. 1997). For the same reasons that the Court
dismisses the action, the Court discerns no good-faith basis
for an appeal. Should Plaintiff appeal this decision, the
Court will assess the $505.00 appellate filing fee pursuant
to § 1915(b)(1), see McGore, 114 F.3d at
610-11, unless Plaintiff is barred from proceeding
informa pauperis, e.g., by the