United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. NEFF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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.
§ 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 Defendant Thomas Mackie.
The Court will serve the complaint against Defendant Unknown
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF) in
Manistee, Michigan. Plaintiff sues ECF Chaplain Unknown Duby
and ECF Warden Thomas Mackie. Plaintiff alleges that
beginning May 15, 2016, he asked Defendant Duby to change
Plaintiff's religious preference to Al-Islam to permit
Plaintiff's participation in the upcoming Ramadan
fast. Plaintiff states that the deadline for
participating in the Ramadan fast was May 19, 2016. Plaintiff
renewed his request on May 16, 2016. Defendant Duby failed to
act promptly to change Plaintiff's religious preference
or to permit Plaintiff's participation in the Ramadan
7, 2016, Plaintiff sent kites to Defendants Duby and Mackie
asking to change his religious preference to Al-Islam and
asking to be placed on the Ramadan fast list. On June 9,
2016, Defendant Duby responded to Plaintiff's June 7 kite
acknowledging Plaintiff's request but denying that he
received Plaintiff's May 16 request and not even
mentioning Plaintiff's May 15 request.
13, 2016, Plaintiff sent kites to Defendants Duby and Mackie
again asking them to place Plaintiff on the Ramadan fast
list. Plaintiff never received a response.
16, 2016, Plaintiff filed a grievance against Defendants Duby
and Mackie, and two others for failing to put Plaintiff on
the Ramadan fast list. On June 17, 2016, Plaintiff filed a
grievance against Defendant Duby for refusing to allow
Plaintiff to change his religious preference.
alleges that Defendant Mackie responded to one of
Plaintiff's grievances (Plaintiff does not indicate which
one). Defendant Mackie's response indicated that
participation in the Ramadan fast was available for religious
designations of Muslim, Moorish Science Temple of America, or
the Nation of Islam. Plaintiff contends that the list
excludes Al-Islam. Plaintiff alleges further that on October
7, 2016, Defendant Duby told another prisoner that Plaintiff
was not placed on the Ramadan fast list because Defendant
Duby lost Plaintiff's kite and because Defendant Duby
does not care for Muslims.
claims that Defendants Duby and Mackie violated
Plaintiff's First Amendment right to freely exercise his
religion and Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection
of the laws, as well as the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §
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); Street
v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir.
1996). 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 (1994).
Plaintiff has adequately identified the source of the