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, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed for
failure to state a claim.
Douglas Cornell Jackson, a state prisoner currently confined
at the Baraga Maximum Correctional Facility (AMF), filed this
pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Defendant Law Librarian Joe Bouchard.
Plaintiff alleges that he has pending litigation in Wayne
County Circuit Court, the United States District Court, the
Michigan Court of Appeals, and the Baraga County Circuit
Court. Plaintiff claims that Defendant has refused to provide
him with adequate access to the law library, or with access
to the legal writer program.
claims that Defendant only allowed Plaintiff access to legal
research one day per week. Because of Plaintiff's refusal
to sign a LWP [legal writer program] / client agreement,
Defendant refused to provide Plaintiff with his motion for
superintending control. Housing staff stole Plaintiff's
Michigan Court Rules Book. On February 24, 2016, and March 1,
2016, Defendant refused to provide Plaintiff with legal
research materials. Defendant refused to provide Plaintiff
with LWP service to help with the preparation of the instant
complaint. On March 4, 2016, Defendant refused to provide
Plaintiff with the Michigan Court Rules and the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. On March 18, 2016, Defendant refused to
provide Plaintiff with the index of the federal criminal
further claims that Defendant intentionally delayed providing
Plaintiff with a “Mich. Ct. Rule 6.502 motion for
relief from judgment, motion for writ of superintending
control complaint.” On May 21, 2016, Defendant refused
to provide Plaintiff with LWP services in preparing a motion
to the trial court. Defendant also refused to turn over some
of Plaintiff's documents, which contained vital
information relating to Plaintiff's criminal case.
Defendant provided Plaintiff with a state pleading that
contained only federal case law. Finally, on August 8, 2016,
and August 10, 2016, Defendant refused to provide Plaintiff
with the necessary copies for service of this action.
Plaintiff states that he filed grievances on Defendant each
time Defendant violated his rights.
claims that Defendant violated his right to be free from
retaliation, as well as his right of access to the courts.
Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as
declaratory and injunctive relief.
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
Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817 (1977), the Supreme
Court recognized a prisoner's fundamental right of access
to the courts. While the right of access to the courts does
not allow a State to prevent an inmate from bringing a
grievance to court, it also does not require the State to
enable a prisoner to discover grievances or litigate
effectively. Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343 (1996).
Thus, Bounds did not create an abstract,
free-standing right to a law library, litigation tools, or
legal assistance. Id. at 351 (1996). Further, the
right may be limited by legitimate penological goals, such as
maintaining security and preventing fire or sanitation
hazards. See Acord v. Brown, No. 91-1865, 1992 WL
58975 (6th Cir. March 26, 1992); Hadix v. Johnson,
No. 86-1701, 1988 WL 24204 (6th Cir. March 17, 1988);
Wagner v. Rees, No. 85-5637, 1985 WL 14025 (6th Cir.
Nov. 8, 1985).
state a claim, an inmate must show that any shortcomings in
the library, litigation tools, or legal assistance caused
actual injury in his pursuit of a legal claim.
Lewis, 518 U.S. at 351; Talley-Bey, 168
F.3d at 886; Kensu v. Haigh, 87 F.3d 172, 175 (6th
Cir. 1996); Pilgrim v. Littlefield, 92 F.3d 413, 416
(6th Cir. 1996); Walker v. Mintzes, 771 F.2d 920,
932 (6th Cir. 1985). An inmate must make a specific claim
that he was adversely affected or that the litigation was
prejudiced. Harbin-Bey v. Rutter, 420 F.3d 571, 578
(6th Cir. 2005); Vandiver v. Niemi, No. 94-1642,
1994 WL 677685, at *1 (6th Cir. Dec. 2, 1994).
“Examples of actual prejudice to pending or
contemplated litigation include having a case dismissed,
being unable to file a complaint, and missing a court-imposed
deadline.” Harbin-Bey, 420 F.3d at 578 (citing
Jackson v. Gill, 92 F. App'x 171, 173 (6th Cir.
case, Plaintiff makes a conclusory assertion that
Defendant's conduct prevented him from presenting
“all his claims of constitutional violations.”
With regard to the instant case, Plaintiff states that
Defendant prevented him from filing a “legally and
factually sufficient prisoner civil rights complaint in this
court that is meaningful, possibly resulting in dismissal in
[Defendant]'s favor.” However, Plaintiff fails to
specifically allege any such prejudice. Plaintiff's
complaint contains detailed allegations regarding
Defendant's alleged ...