Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lewis v. Seames

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division

February 9, 2017

TONY DOIRELLE LEWIS, Plaintiff,
v.
S. V. SEAMES, et al, Defendants.

          OPINION

          GORDON J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is 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. 28U.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, Plaintiffs action will be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff Tony Doirelle Lewis, a Michigan prisoner currently incarcerated at the Newberry Correctional Facility (NCF), filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Corrections Officer S. V. Seames, Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor C. Brown, Resident Unit Manager Ronald Bailey, Grievance Coordinator Mike McLean, and Warden Jeffrey Woods. Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) during the pertinent time period.

         Plaintiff alleges that on April 30, 2013, Defendant Seames retaliated against Plaintiff by writing a false misconduct on him. On May 1, 2013, Defendant Seames wrote another false misconduct on Plaintiff. On May 29, 2013, Plaintiff filed a grievance on Defendant Seames. On July 11, 2013, Defendant Seames retaliated against Plaintiff by writing another false misconduct ticket on him. Plaintiff appealed the misconduct ticket and it was removed from his file.

         On October 21, 2013, Defendant Brown "skimmed" through Plaintiffs outgoing expedited legal mail, which was addressed to the federal court. Defendant Brown then told Plaintiff that she dared him to file a civil complaint against her or her staff. Defendant Brown told Plaintiff that she would be sending his "black ass to the eastside." Plaintiff was subsequently transferred to the East side of URF, where prisoner movement was restricted and where prisoners were typically placed for punishment. Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding the retaliatory transfer and sent kites to both Defendant Bailey and Defendant Woods. Defendant Bailey responded to Plaintiffs grievance by stating that he had been moved to accommodate religious lines, and that he remained in the same security level, which was a level II. Plaintiff concedes that both areas were level II, but asserts that the Eastside facility had restricted movement. Plaintiff asserts that the failure of Defendants Bailey and Woods to intervene on Plaintiffs behalf against Defendant Brown violated his rights.

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated his rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff seeks damages.

         II. Failure to state a claim

         A 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. Twombfy, 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 acause 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, 556U.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. ClV. 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)).

         To 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 amethod 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).

         Initially, the Court notes that the vast majority of Plaintiff s claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. State 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. 1984). The statute of limitations begins to run when the aggrieved party knows or has reason to know of the injury that is the basis of his action. Collyer, 98 F.3d at 220.[1]

         Plaintiff asserts claims arising in April, May, and July of 2013, as well as on October 21, 2013. Plaintiff had reason to know of the "harms" done to him at the time they occurred. Hence, Plaintiffs claims accrued at the time of the alleged violations. However, Plaintiff did not file his complaint until October 12, 2016. Michigan law no longer tolls the running of the statute of limitations when a plaintiff is incarcerated. See MICH. COMP. LAWS § 600.5851(9). Further, it is well established that ignorance of the law does not warrant equitable tolling of a statute of limitations. See Rose v. Dole, 945 F.2d 1331, 1335 (6th Cir. 1991); Jones v. Gen. Motors Corp., 939 F.2d 380, 385 (6th Cir. 1991); Mason v. Dep 't of Justice, No. 01-5701, 2002 WL 1334756, at *2 (6th Cir. June 17, 2002). Therefore, Plaintiffs allegations of wrongdoing that occurred prior to October 12, 2013, are barred by the statute of limitations and are subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007).

         Plaintiff s claims that Defendants Brown, Bailey, and Woods engaged in wrongdoing in October of 2013 are not barred by the statute of limitations. As noted above, Plaintiff claims that on October 21, 2013, Defendant Brown "skimmed" through Plaintiffs outgoing expedited legal mail, which was addressed to the federal court, in a manner which was more in depth than was necessary to determine that the mail constituted legal mail. Defendant Brown then told Plaintiff that she dared him to file a civil complaint against her or her staff and stated that she would be sending his "black ass to the eastside." Plaintiff was subsequently transferred to the East side of the prison, where prisoner movement was restricted. Plaintiff claims that prisoners were typically sent to the East side of URF as punishment. Defendant Bailey responded to Plaintiffs grievance on the issue by stating that he had been moved ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.