United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
BRADLEY T. PETERSON, Plaintiff,
DANIEL CLANTON, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER (1) OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S
OBJECTIONS (DKT. 26), (2) ACCEPTING THE MAGISTRATE
JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (DKT. 25), AND (3)
GRANTING DEFENDANT COUNTY OF MONROE'S MOTION TO
DISMISS (DKT. 21)
A. GOLDSMITH United States District Judge.
Bradley T. Peterson, proceeding pro se, filed this civil
rights case against Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. See Compl. (Dkt. 1). The matter was referred
to Magistrate Judge David R. Grand for all pretrial
proceedings. See Order of Referral (Dkt. 12). On
July 27, 2016, the magistrate judge issued a Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) (Dkt. 25),
recommending that Defendant County of Monroe's motion to
dismiss (Dkt. 21) be granted and that Peterson's
complaint be dismissed. Peterson filed an objection to the
R&R (Dkt. 26). To date, Monroe County has not filed a
response. The Court reviews de novo any portion of the
R&R to which specific objections are timely filed.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). For the reasons discussed below, the
Court accepts the recommendation contained in the R&R and
grants Monroe County's motion to dismiss.
begins his objection by summarizing his past and current
litigation before this Court. Peterson notes that the first
lawsuit, Peterson v. County of Monroe, et al., No.
12-cv-11460, was dismissed on a defense motion for summary
judgment. Pl. Obj. at 2. Peterson then filed a second suit
against the same parties, in which he alleged that a fellow
prisoner, Michael Green, received favorable treatment from
prison officials after threatening Peterson with a loaded
shotgun. See 3/27/2015 Op. & Order Peterson
v. County of Monroe, et al., No. 14-cv-12863. Peterson
alleged that this was done in retaliation for earlier
complaints made by Peterson against Monroe County officials.
Id. at 2. The lawsuit also alleged county officials
failed to properly investigate Peterson's complaints.
Id. This Court ultimately dismissed Peterson's
claims in that action. Id. at 8. Peterson also notes
that a third lawsuit, Peterson v. Moore, No.
15-cv-14190, is still pending before this Court. Pl. Obj. at
the current action, Peterson alleges that Defendants
“have a history of revenge, hatred, [and]
assault” against him and that this pattern continued on
September 11, 2015 when Daniel Clanton, a corporal with the
Monroe City Police Department, filed a police report, in
which he stated that Peterson made “terrorist
threats” against law enforcement. Pl. Obj. at 2-4.
Peterson alleges that he was simply attempting to peacefully
protest both his treatment while incarcerated, as well as the
previous dismissals of his lawsuits. Id. at 3.
Peterson states that his “constitutional rights to
peacefully protest ended in police slander, deformation [sic,
defamation], [and] threats of use of violence against
plaintiff with force.” Id. at 4-5. Peterson
requests that this Court overrule the R&R (Dkt. 25) and
deny Monroe County's motion to dismiss (Dkt. 21).
R&R recognized, a motion to dismiss tests a
complaint's legal sufficiency. The complaint must contain
“more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While a
court must construe all factual allegations in the complaint
as true, the same courtesy is not extended to bare legal
conclusions, even where such conclusions are couched as
factual allegations. Id. The complaint's factual
allegations must give rise to a “plausible claim for
relief.” Id. at 679. “[A]llegations of a
complaint drafted by a pro se litigant are held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers in the sense that a pro se complaint will be
liberally construed in determining whether it fails to state
a claim upon which relief could be granted.”
Jourdan v. Jabe, 951 F.2d 108, 110 (6th Cir. 1991).
Deprivation of a Constitutional Right
objection is that the evidence demonstrates Defendants have a
history of “revenge, hatred, [and], assault”
against him, and that this behavior once again manifested
itself on September 11, 2015, when Clanton filed a police
report in which he stated Peterson was making
“terrorist threats” against him. Peterson's
claim against Monroe County fails for multiple
§ 1983 claim must present two elements: (1) that there
was the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution
and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting
under color of state law.” Wittstock v. Mark A. Van
Sile, Inc., 330 F.3d 899, 902 (6th Cir. 2003). Peterson
alleges in his complaint that he was defamed by the contents
of Clanton's police report. Compl. ¶ 33. In Paul
v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693 (1976), the Supreme Court
addressed whether a plaintiff is deprived of any
constitutional rights as the result of being defamed by state
actors. In Paul, the plaintiff brought suit after
police officers handed out flyers that included his picture,
which were entitled “active shoplifters.”
Id. at 695. While the Sixth Circuit held that the
plaintiff's claim amounted to a denial of procedural due
process, the Supreme Court disagreed, holding that “the
interest in reputation alone” could not serve as the
basis for a procedural due process claim. Id. at
711. The Sixth Circuit has since recognized that
“[a]bsent a further injury, such as loss of a
government job or loss of a legal right or status,
defamation, by itself, does not constitute a remediable
constitutional claim.” Voyticky v. Vill. of
Timberlake, Ohio, 412 F.3d 669, 677 (6th Cir. 2005).
Peterson has alleged no such further injury. Because Peterson
has failed to allege that Monroe County deprived him of a
constitutional right, his §1983 claim must be dismissed.
Peterson could establish that Clanton's police report
deprived him of a constitutional right, the actions of
Clanton cannot be imputed to Monroe County. “A
municipality ‘may not be sued under § 1983 for an
injury inflicted solely by its employees or
agents.'” Burgess v. Fischer, 735 F.3d
462, 478 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting Monell v. Dep't of
Soc. Servs. of City of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978)).
Rather, “[a] plaintiff raising a municipal liability
claim under § 1983 must demonstrate that the alleged
federal violation occurred because of a municipal policy or
custom.” Id. “A plaintiff can make a
showing of an illegal policy or custom by demonstrating one
of the following: (1) the existence of an illegal official
policy or legislative enactment; (2) that an official with
final decision making authority ratified illegal actions; (3)
the existence of a policy of inadequate training or
supervision; or (4) the existence of a custom of tolerance or
acquiescence of federal rights violations.”
fails to allege any policy, practice, or custom of Monroe
County to deprive him or others of their constitutional
rights. His only allegation of wrongdoing is his claim that
Clanton defamed him in his September 11, 2015 police report.
Compl. ¶ 33. This does not rise to the level of an
illegal official policy, a policy of inadequate ...