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Williams v. Smith

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

March 10, 2017

WILLIE O. SMITH et al., Defendants.


          Honorable Janet T. Neff 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. 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, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim against Defendants Smith and Christiansen. The Court will serve the complaint against Defendants Maranka, Jansen and Dozeman.


         I. Factual allegations

          Plaintiff Laurice Williams presently is incarcerated at the Ionia Correctional Facility (ICF). He sues the following ICF officials: Warden Willie O. Smith; Deputy Warden John Christiansen; Mental Health Unit Chief David Maranka; and Psychologists Meghan Jansen and Kirt Dozeman.

         Plaintiff arrived at ICF on June 25, 2015. On June 26, he was placed on suicide observation after he informed Defendant Jansen that he was contemplating suicide. He remained on suicide observation status for two months. During that time, he was evaluated daily by Defendant Jansen or another psychologist. Also during that time, Plaintiff repeatedly told Jansen and other psychologists that he was depressed, hearing voices, and “couldn't take it anymore.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.8.) In addition, he repeatedly told them that he was actively searching for a razor, so that he could cut his artery and bleed to death.

         At the end of those two months, Defendant Jansen took him off suicide status and sent him to general population. On September 4, 2015, Plaintiff told the guards that he was hearing voices and felt suicidal. He was taken to segregation and placed back on suicide observation. He managed to smuggle a razor with him into segregation. On September 8, 2015, Plaintiff cut his left arm quite severely, causing substantial bleeding and requiring numerous stitches. He was evaluated later that day by Defendant Jansen, who told him that she did not believe that he was seriously suicidal but was manipulating staff in order to be returned to the Residential Treatment Program (RTP) at another prison. Jansen informed Petitioner that she was going to make sure that he stayed at ICF.

         On September 13, Petitioner cut himself again, using the same razor he had smuggled in. Defendant Jansen evaluated him again the next day. When he told her that he wanted to die and would keep cutting himself until he did, Jansen told him that he was “full of sh-t” and should “stop playing these stupid games.” (Id., PageID.10-11.)

         Plaintiff cut himself again on September 20, 2015, using the same razor. This time, he cut himself so deeply that he had to be rushed to the emergency room, where he received nine stitches. When Jansen came to see him on September 21, 2015, she said,

Why do you keep on making my job harder. The longer you stay on suicide status, the longer I have to keep coming to your cell to evaluate you everyday. I'm sick and tired of your bullsh-t.”

(Id., PageID.11.) Petitioner told Defendant Jansen that he intended to keep cutting himself until he hit his artery and bled to death. Defendant Jansen finally asked Plaintiff what he was using to cut himself. Plaintiff showed her the razor blade through the cell door window. Nevertheless, Jansen did not take the razor blade, and Plaintiff cut himself for the fourth time on September 18 or 19, 2015. Plaintiff was escorted to health services, where he received more stitches.

         After he had been in suicide observation for over one month, on October 6, 2015, Plaintiff cut himself again with the same razor blade. He yet again received numerous stitches. Like the other five times, Plaintiff cut his left arm, allegedly in search of his artery. Finally, after Plaintiff was returned to the segregation unit from health services, he was kept in the day room so that Sergeant Bledsoe could search his cell. Bledsoe found the razor blade. Later that day, Defendant Jansen told Plaintiff,

You're not going back to RTP so you might as well stop cutting yourself. I already told Maranka that you're just a manipulator, and he said he's never going to submit the ...

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