United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
HONORABLE GORDON 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.
Randy Holloway, a Michigan state prisoner currently confined
at the Muskegon Correctional Facility, filed this pro
se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Attorney Solomon Radner. Plaintiff claims that he
retained Defendant Radnor to represent him in a civil rights
action filed by Plaintiff against prison officials. See
Holloway v. Kinross Correctional Facility, et al., Case
No. 2:14-cv-83 (W.D. Mich., Sept. 26, 2016). Plaintiff claims
that Defendant Radnor failed to file objections to the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation or to
otherwise adequately litigate Plaintiff's rights, which
resulted in the dismissal of Plaintiff's action.
Plaintiff seeks 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 - 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
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). In order for a private party's conduct
to be under color of state law, it must be “fairly
attributable to the State.” Lugar v. Edmondson Oil
Co., 457 U.S. 922, 937 (1982); Street v. Corr. Corp.
of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir. 1996). There must be
“a sufficiently close nexus between the State and the
challenged action of [the defendant] so that the action of
the latter may be fairly treated as that of the State
itself.” Skelton v. Pri-Cor, Inc., 963 F.2d
100, 102 (6th Cir. 1991) (citing Jackson v. Metro. Edison
Co., 419 U.S. 345, 351 (1974)).
cannot show that his retained attorney acted under color of
state law. In Polk County v. Dodson, 454
U.S. 312 (1981), the Supreme Court held that counsel perform
a private, not an official, function:
In our system[, ] a defense lawyer characteristically opposes
the designated representatives of the State. The system
assumes that adversarial testing will ultimately advance the
public interest in truth and fairness. But it posits that a
defense lawyer best serves the public, not by acting on
behalf of the State or in concert with it, but rather by
advancing “the undivided interest of his client.”
This is essentially a private function, traditionally filled
by retained counsel, for which state office and authority are
454 U.S. at 318-19 (footnotes omitted). The Polk
County Court further held that this is true even of the
state-appointed and state-paid public defender. Id.
at 321. The Court said that, once a lawyer undertakes the
representation of an accused, the duties and obligations are
the same whether the lawyer is privately retained, appointed,
or serves in a legal aid or defender program. Id. at
323. The Court held that, even though a public defender is
paid by the state, he or she does not act under color of
state law in representing the accused. Id. at 325.
Rather, defense counsel-whether privately retained or paid by
the state-acts purely on behalf of the client and free from
state control. Id. The Sixth Circuit has adhered to
the holding in Polk County in numerous decisions.
See, e.g., Floyd v. Cnty. of Kent, 454 F. App'x
493, 497 (6th Cir. 2012) (holding that, when performing
traditional functions as counsel, a public defender is not a
state actor); Powers v. Hamilton Cnty. Pub.
Defender, 501 F.3d 592, 611 (6th Cir. 2007) (same);
Harmon v. Hamilton Cnty. Court of Common Pleas, 83
F. App'x 766, 767 (6th Cir. 2003). Accordingly,
Plaintiff's retained attorney did not act under color of
state law, and no claim under § 1983 can be maintained
extent that Plaintiff asserts claims of fraud and legal
malpractice, these claims arise solely under state law.
Section 1983 does not provide redress for a violation of a
state law. Pyles v. Raisor, 60 F.3d 1211, 1215 (6th
Cir. 1995); Sweeton v. Brown, 27 F.3d 1162, 1166
(6th Cir. 1994). The Sixth Circuit has stated that district
courts should generally decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over state law claims under these circumstances.
See Landefeld v. Marion Gen. Hosp., 994 F.2d 1178,
1182 (6th Cir. 1993); Hawley v. Burke, No. 97-1853,
1998 WL 384557, at *1-2 (6th Cir. June 18, 1998).
Accordingly, these claims will be dismissed without
conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform
Act, the Court determines that Plaintiff's action will be
dismissed for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C.