United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL
VICTORIA A. ROBERTS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a pro se civil rights case brought pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Michigan prisoner Vincent Pacer Cline
(“Plaintiff”), currently confined at the Woodland
Correctional Center in Whitmore Lake, Michigan, alleges that
his constitutional rights were violated when he was denied
access to GED classes due to his STG (security threat group)
classification/activity while confined at the Gus Harrison
Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan. Plaintiff names
Acting Captain/STG Coordinator Tanner (first name unknown) as
the sole defendant in this action and sues him in his
personal and official capacities. Plaintiff seeks injunctive
relief and monetary damages. The Court has granted Plaintiff
leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fees for
this action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996
(“PLRA”), the Court is required to sua
sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint
before service on a defendant if it determines that the
action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against
a defendant who is immune from such relief. 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court is
similarly required to dismiss a complaint seeking redress
against government entities, officers, and employees which it
finds to be frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an
arguable basis in law or in fact. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint set
forth “a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” as well as
“a demand for the relief sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), (3). The purpose of this rule is to “give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley
v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957) and Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). While such notice pleading does not require
detailed factual allegations, it does require more than the
bare assertion of legal conclusions. Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555. Rule 8 “demands more than an unadorned,
the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
“A pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that (1) he was deprived of a right, privilege, or
immunity secured by the federal Constitution or laws of the
United States; and (2) the deprivation was caused by a person
acting under color of state law. Flagg Bros. v.
Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155-57 (1978); Harris v.
Circleville, 583 F.3d 356, 364 (6th Cir. 2009). A
pro se civil rights complaint is to be construed
liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21
the liberal pleading standard accorded pro se
plaintiffs, the Court finds that Plaintiff's Prisoner
Civil Rights Complaint is subject to summary dismissal. A
prisoner's right to due process only arises if a
restriction or other conduct by prison officials impedes a
constitutionally-protected liberty interest. Wilkerson v.
Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 221 (2005). In this case,
Plaintiff complains about his lack of access to GED classes
due to his STG classification/activity and asserts the lack
of education is negatively affecting his chance for parole.
It is well-established, however, that a prisoner has no
constitutional right to education or rehabilitation while in
prison. Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 348 (1981);
Argue v. Hofmeyer, 80 F. App'x 427, 429 (6th
Cir. 2003) (prisoners have no constitutional right to
rehabilitation, education or jobs); Carter v.
Morgan, 142 F.3d 432, 1998 WL 69810, *2 (6th Cir. 1998)
(table); Canterino v. Wilson, 869 F.2d 948, 952-54
(6th Cir. 1989) (no right to rehabilitation). There is also
no constitutional right to parole and Michigan law does not
create a liberty interest in being paroled before the
expiration of a valid sentence. Greenholtz v. Nebraska
Penal Inmates, 442 U.S. 1, 11 (1979); Sweeton v.
Brown, 27 F.3d 1162, 1164-65 (6th Cir. 1994) (en banc);
Lee v. Jabe, 989 F.2d 869, 871 (6th Cir. 1993).
Consequently, Plaintiff has no due process right arising from
the defendant's alleged refusal to allow him to take GED
classes due to his STG classification/activity. See,
e.g., Carter v. McCaleb, 29 F.Supp.2d 423, 429 (W.D.
Mich. 1998) (“In the absence of a liberty interest, no
process is constitutionally due.”). Plaintiff thus
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted as to
to the extent that Plaintiff challenges his STG
classification, he similarly fails to state a viable claim
for relief. A prisoner has no liberty interest in a
particular security classification. Olim v.
Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 245 (1983); Meachum v.
Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 224-25 (1976); Newell v.
Brown, 981 F.2d 880, 883 (6th Cir. 1992). Moreover, the
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has
specifically rejected challenges to STG classifications and
resultant restrictions on prisoners with that designation.
See, e.g., Harbin-Bey v. Rutter, 420 F.3d 571,
576-77 (6th Cir. 2005) (STG designation and resulting
permanent restrictions is not an atypical and significant
hardship in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison
life); Ford v. Harvey, 106 F. App'x 397, 399
(6th Cir. 2004) (ruling that STG designation is merely a
prison security classification and that prisoner does not
have a constitutional right to a particular security level or
classification and dismissing civil rights claim); Ford
v. Martin, 49 F. App'x 584, 586 (6th Cir. 2002)
(dismissing due process and equal protection claims arising
from classification of a prisoner as an STG member without a
hearing). Plaintiff thus fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted as to this issue.
to the extent that Plaintiff asserts that the defendant did
not properly address his grievances involving his education
or security classification, he fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted. The First Amendment guarantees
“the right of the people . . . to petition the
Government for a redress of grievances.” U.S. Const.
amend. I. While a prisoner has a First Amendment right to
file grievances against prison officials, Herron v.
Harrison, 203 F.3d 410, 415 (6th Cir. 2000), the First
Amendment does not impose an affirmative obligation on the
government to consider, respond to, or grant any relief on a
petition for redress of grievances. Smith v. Arkansas
State Hwy. Employees, Local 1315, 441 U.S. 463, 464-65
(1979); see also Apple v. Glenn, 183 F.3d 477, 479
(6th Cir. 1999) (“A citizen's right to petition the
government does not guarantee a response to the petition or
the right to compel government officials to act on or adopt a
citizen's views.”). Moreover, an inmate does not
have a constitutionally-protected interest in a jail or
prison grievance procedure or the right to an effective
procedure. Walker v. Michigan Dep't of
Corrections, 128 F. App'x 441, 445 (6th Cir. 2005);
Argue v. Hofmeyer, 80 F. App'x 427, 430 (6th
Cir. 2003) (citing cases). To the extent that Plaintiff is
dissatisfied with the investigation of his concerns and
responses to his grievance, he fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted. Carlton v. Jondreau, 76
F. App'x 642, 644 (6th Cir. 2003); Proctor v.
Applegate, 661 F.Supp.2d 743, 766-67 (E.D. Mich. 2009)
(Borman, J., adopting magistrate judge's report).
Plaintiff's Prisoner Civil Rights Complaint must
therefore be dismissed.
reasons stated, the Court concludes that Plaintiff fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted in his
pleadings. Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES WITH
PREJUDICE Plaintiff's Prisoner Civil Rights
Complaint. The Court also concludes that an appeal from this
decision cannot be taken in good faith. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3); Coppedge v. United States,
369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962). This case is closed.