United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern 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 Denman,
Lindemuth, Salo, Immel and Nylander. The Court will serve the
complaint against Defendant Miron.
Plaintiff Bobby Allen Williams presently is incarcerated with
the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Alger
Correctional Facility (LMF). He sues the following LMF
officials: Sergeant (unknown) Miron; Assistant Resident Unit
Managers (ARUMs) J. Denman and T. Solo; Resident Unit Manager
(RUM) (unknown) Lindemuth; Accountant T. Immel; Business
Manager B. Nylander; and six unknown
cell-extraction-response- team (CERT) members (Unknown
alleges that, on May 4, 2013, Defendant Miron threatened to
forcibly extract Plaintiff's cellmate from his cell,
without a legitimate basis for the threat, thereby provoking
Plaintiff's cellmate. Defendants Miron and the unknown
CERT member came to the cell to perform the extraction.
Plaintiff repeatedly asked to be permitted to leave his cell
and to take his property, so that neither he nor his property
would be injured or damaged. Miron refused, saying,
“F**k you and your property, I[']m giving your
black ass a direct order to get on your bunk and stay there,
I'm going to gas both of you, I'm in control, and
Young Black ass gonna do what I say period!” (Compl.,
ECF No. 1, PageID.6.) Plaintiff's cellmate then activated
the fire sprinkling system. Defendant Miron shot three rounds
of chemical agents into the cell, causing Plaintiff extreme
physical pain and injuries to Plaintiff's eyes, nose
throat, lungs and skin. The sprinkler system flooded the
cell, causing irreparable damage to Plaintiff's legal
mail, legal exhibits, court transcripts and orders, as well
as his recently prepared habeas corpus petition, brief, and
exhibits. As a result of his exposure to the gas, Plaintiff
had to seek medical treatment both on that date and later
filed a grievance about Miron's refusal to allow
Plaintiff to leave his cell with the property. Defendant Salo
reviewed the Step-I grievance and concluded that Plaintiff
should seek reimbursement from the Prisoner Benefit Fund for
the cost of replacing his legal property, but that the damage
was not caused by LMF staff, but by Plaintiff's cellmate.
Defendant Lindemuth signed the Step-I grievance. Plaintiff
complains that Defendants Salo and Lindemuth covered up the
improper actions of Defendant Miron and the unknown CERT
officers by placing all of the blame for the damage on
appealed the grievance to Step II, complaining that he needed
immediate replacement of his materials in order to meet court
deadlines. On May 23, 2013, Warden Bauman responded at Step
II, indicating that the MDOC was not responsible for the
reimbursement of funds, as its personnel did not cause the
damage. Bauman indicated, however, that Defendant Lindemuth
had instructed Plaintiff to provide documentation so that he
could receive restitution from the prisoner involved.
thereafter appealed to Step III. On October 15, 2013,
Plaintiff's Step-III appeal was denied on the grounds
that the responses at Steps I and II had been appropriate.
requested copies of all documents from the Michigan Supreme
Court that were lost in the incident. On June 10, 2013, he
was informed that the cost of copying would be $62.50.
Plaintiff received a letter from the Michigan Court of
Appeals on July 7, 2013, indicating that copies of documents
from that court would cost $40.00. On July 2, 2013, he sought
reimbursement from Defendant Business Manager Nylander. On
August 7, 2013, Defendant Nylander credited Plaintiff's
prisoner trust account with $102.50. Shortly thereafter,
however, Defendant Immel removed the funds that had been
placed in Plaintiff's account, preventing Plaintiff from
obtaining copies of the records that had been destroyed.
alleges that, because he lacked the necessary records, the
petition for habeas corpus that he filed in this Court on
January 13, 2014, was a mere skeleton petition, lacking
supporting documents. Plaintiff's petition was denied on
August 30, 2016. See Williams v. Bauman, No.
2:14-cv-12 (W.D. Mich. Aug. 30, 2016).
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
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 - ...