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.
Morris Weatherspoon presently is incarcerated at the Baraga
Maximum Correctional Facility, though the actions about which
he complains occurred while he was housed at the Kinross
Correctional Facility (KCF). He sues the following KCF
officials: Mental Health Provider Jill Strahan; and
Correctional Officers Kim Esslin, John Thibault, and Michael
has filed a 32-page complaint, which consists of repetitive
and hyperbolic allegations about a narrow set of facts. He
alleges that, on September 16, 2012, Defendants Esslin,
Thibault, and McDowell conspired to charge him with a false
misconduct for possession of an eight-inch knife. Despite
Plaintiff's protestations of innocence, Plaintiff was
placed in a six-man cell in administrative segregation.
Plaintiff complains that the cell also housed assaultive
predators and that Plaintiff feared being sexually assaulted
by those prisoners. Plaintiff repeatedly complained, but
Esslin, Thibault, and McDowell allegedly ignored his
concerns. Defendant Esslin eventually told Plaintiff that, if
he wished protective custody, he would need to declare an
intent to harm himself, so that he could be placed in the
video-observation cell. Plaintiff followed Esslin's
instruction, and he was given a suicide vest and blanket and
placed in the observation cell.
September 17, 2012, Defendant Strahan conducted an assessment
of Plaintiff's suicide risk. Plaintiff told Strahan that
he was not suicidal and that he had only claimed to be
suicidal in order to avoid being kept in dangerous
administrative segregation. He also told Strahan that he had
been falsely accused of the misconduct that put him in
segregation. Defendant Strahan allegedly responded harshly,
saying that Plaintiff had possessed a knife. Strahan took no
action to get Plaintiff back into the general population.
Plaintiff contends that, on September 19, 2012, Strahan
joined into a conspiracy with Defendants Esslin, Thibault and
McDowell, who themselves were continuing a conspiracy against
Plaintiff that occurred while Plaintiff was housed at
Chippewa Correctional Facility, before Plaintiff was
transferred to KCF. He also contends that, despite knowing
that continued placement in the suicide cell was detrimental
to Plaintiff's mental health, Defendant Strahan refused
to release Plaintiff from suicide observation.
Esslin, Thibault and McDowell continued to ignore
Plaintiff's claims of pain and suffering, as well as his
declared need to be released so that he could receive
essential dental treatment. On September 21, 2012, case
manager Amy Klein released Plaintiff from suicide
observation. On September 25, 2012, Plaintiff was found not
guilty of the misconduct.
alleges that Defendants conspired with each other and with
officials at Chippewa Correctional Facility to deprive
Plaintiff of his constitutional rights. He contends that
Defendants took the alleged actions in retaliation for the
grievances Plaintiff filed at Chippewa Correctional Facility.
He also alleges that Defendants subjected him to cruel and
claims that he attempted to file grievances, but he was
unable to do so because he was on modified grievance
access. He seeks compensatory and punitive
damages, together with 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
statutes of limitations and tolling principles apply to
determine the timeliness of claims asserted under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 268-69
(1985). For civil rights suits filed in Michigan under §
1983, the statute of limitations is three years. See
Mich. Comp. Laws § 600.5805(10); Carroll v.
Wilkerson, 782 F.2d 44, 44 (6th Cir. 1986) (per curiam);
Stafford v. Vaughn, No. 97-2239, 1999 WL 96990, at
*1 (6th Cir. Feb. 2, 1999). Accrual of the claim for relief,
however, is a question of federal law. Collyer v.
Darling, 98 F.3d 211, 220 (6th Cir. 1996); Sevier v.
Turner, 742 F.2d 262, 272 (6th Cir. ...