United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND
FINDING AS MOOT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SERVICE (DOCUMENT
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff D'Andre Marquis Alexander's
pro se civil rights complaint for money damages, a
declaratory judgment, and injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Alexander is a state prisoner at the Macomb
Correctional Facility in New Haven, Michigan. The events in
question occurred at the Saginaw Correctional Facility (SRF)
in Freeland, Michigan and the Chippewa Correctional Facility
(URF) in Kincheloe, Michigan. There are four defendants:
Russell Vittitow, the grievance coordinator at SRF; Robert
Norton, a resident unit manager at URF; Lloyd Rapelje, the
warden at SRF; and Tom Finco, deputy director of the Michigan
Department of Corrections.
alleges that on June 6, 2013, a correctional officer named
Neitzel sexually assaulted him during a pat down at SRF.
Alexander filed a grievance over the assault, but the matter
was investigated, and correctional officials determined from
witnesses, health care information, and a video of the
shakedown that Alexander's allegation was unfounded. As a
result, then, of the unfounded allegation, defendant Vittitow
asked to have Alexander placed on modified-access status:
Alexander could receive a grievance form only if Vittitow
determined that the issue was grievable and that Alexander
had tried to resolve the issue before seeking to file a
grievance. After defendant Rapelje granted Vittitow's
request, Vittitow placed Alexander on modified-access status
for ninety days. See Compl., Exs. B and C.
prison policy directive states that an inmate may have his
access to the grievance process limited if the inmate is
found guilty of misconduct for filing an unfounded grievance.
See id., Ex. A. Because Alexander was not charged
with writing a false grievance before he was placed on
modified-access status, he filed a grievance against Vittitow
and Rapelje. The grievance appears to have been submitted to
prison officials in July of 2013. See id., Ex. D.
September 4, 2013, Vittitow charged Alexander with misconduct
for interfering with the administration of rules by writing
the false grievance about being sexually assaulted by Officer
Neitzel. See id., Ex. I. Defendant Finco approved
the filing of a misconduct ticket, and defendant Norton
conducted a hearing on the charge. On September 6, 2013,
Norton found Alexander guilty as charged and imposed a
sanction of thirty days loss of privileges. See id.,
subsequently resolved Alexander's grievance at Step II of
the grievance process. He opined that Alexander was correct
in stating that he should have received a misconduct ticket
before being placed on modified-access status, but he noted
that the misconduct ticket was written as soon as it was
administratively feasible. See id., Ex. E.
Rapelje's decision was upheld at the third and final step
of the grievance process. See id., Ex. G.
claims Vittitow violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to
due process when he failed to cite him for misconduct before
placing him on modified-access status. Alexander also claims
that his right to due process was violated because he was not
given enough time to gather documents, to present witnesses,
or to compel disclosure of evidence before the hearing on the
further alleges that Vittitow violated his rights under the
First Amendment by charging him with misconduct for allegedly
interfering with the administration of rules. Alexander
asserts that the misconduct ticket was issued in retaliation
for Alexander's protected conduct of writing a grievance
against Vittitow and Rapelje for placing him on
Alexander claims that some of the defendants conspired
against him while other defendants failed to report or
intervene with the conspiracy. Alexander alleges that the
defendants' actions and inactions amounted to cruel and
unusual conduct under the Eighth Amendment.
to the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, federal district
courts must screen a prisoner's complaint and dismiss the
complaint if it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a
claim for which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A; Flanory v.
Bonn, 604 F.3d 249, 252 (6th Cir. 2010); Smith v.
Campbell, 250 F.3d 1032, 1036 (6th Cir. 2001). A
complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law
or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations,
" the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact)." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (footnote and
citations omitted). In other words, "a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, 'to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting 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." Id.