United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. JONKER CHIEF 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 on
grounds of immunity and for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility
in Ionia, Michigan. The incidents described in his complaint,
however, occurred while he was incarcerated at the Carson
City Correctional Facility in Carson City, Michigan.
Plaintiff is suing only one Defendant: Warden Sherman
Campbell. Plaintiff is suing Defendant Campbell in his
alleges that as he entered his unit at the Carson City
Correctional Facility on December 9, 2015, he was forcibly
“bumped” by Corrections Officer Mirales. Less
than an hour later, Corrections Officer Mirales informed
Plaintiff that Plaintiff was “going to have a rough
time.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.3.) Plaintiff
proceeded to the Control Center to report the incident.
Plaintiff informed the sergeant on duty that Plaintiff could
not return to the unit.
sergeant told Plaintiff to write a statement. Plaintiff's
statement was reviewed by Captain Kapustka. Captain Kapustka
read the statement and, at Plaintiff's urging, attempted
to review video of the incident. Captain Kapustka told
Plaintiff he could not find the incident and ordered
Plaintiff back to the unit. Plaintiff refused. He was sent to
hearing officer found Mirales credible and Plaintiff guilty.
Plaintiff was, therefore, relieved of his prison job and
barred from ordering “indigent” for twelve
wrote a grievance regarding the hearing officer's failure
to investigate. A few days later he was returned to the
general population. The next day, Plaintiff's cell was
“shook down.” (Id.) After the
shake-down, his copy of the grievance and a witness statement
were missing. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff was transferred
from the Carson City Correctional Facility.
Campbell became involved after the incidents occurred and
Plaintiff wrote to Defendant Campbell about the incidents.
Plaintiff sues Defendant Campbell because Defendant Campbell
failed to enforce a policy directive that a critical incident
report be generated after an assault is reported and failing
to ensure compliance with the requirement that video is to be
saved for three years. According to Plaintiff, Defendant
Campbell oversees enforcement of policy and has allowed his
facility to be grossly negligent such that Plaintiff was
assaulted and then punished for it. Plaintiff claims that his
Eighth Amendment rights were violated and, as a result, he
lost his job and his right to order items as an indigent.
Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages in the amount of $100,
000.00, and punitive damages in the amount of $10, 000.00.
sues Defendant Campbell in his official capacity. A suit
against an individual in his official capacity is equivalent
to a suit brought against the governmental entity: in this
case, the Michigan Department of Corrections. See Will v.
Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989);
Matthews v. Jones, 35 F.3d 1046, 1049 (6th Cir.
1994). The states and their departments are immune under the
Eleventh Amendment from suit in the federal courts, unless
the state has waived immunity or Congress has expressly
abrogated Eleventh Amendment immunity by statute. See
Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S.
89, 98-101 (1984); Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781,
782 (1978); O'Hara v. Wigginton, 24 F.3d 823,
826 (6th Cir. 1993). Congress has not expressly abrogated
Eleventh Amendment immunity by statute, Quern v.
Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 341 (1979), and the State of
Michigan has not consented to civil rights suits in federal
court. Abick v. Michigan, 803 F.2d 874, 877 (6th
Cir. 1986). In numerous unpublished opinions, the Sixth
Circuit has specifically held that the MDOC is absolutely
immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment. See,
e.g., McCoy v. Michigan, 369 F. App'x
646, 653-54 (6th Cir. 2010); Turnboe v. Stegall, No.
00-1182, 2000 WL1679478, at *2 (6th Cir. Nov. 1, 2000). In
addition, neither the State of Michigan (acting through the
Michigan Department of Corrections) nor Warden Campbell
acting in his official capacity is a “person” who
may be sued under § 1983 for money damages. See
Will, 491 U.S. at 71. An official-capacity defendant is
absolutely immune from monetary damages. Id.;
Turker v. Ohio Dep't of Rehab. & Corr., 157
F.3d 453, 456 (6th Cir. 1998); Wells v. Brown, 891
F.2d 591, 592-93 (6th Cir. 1989).
official-capacity action seeking prospective injunctive
relief constitutes an exception to sovereign immunity.
See Ex Parte Young, 209 U.S. 123, 159-60 (1908)
(Eleventh Amendment immunity does not bar injunctive relief
against a state official). Plaintiff does not seek such
relief. Moreover, because Plaintiff is no longer in Defendant
Campbell's facility, prospective injunctive relief would