United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
SPENCER B. DURHAM, Plaintiff,
RALPH CHERRY et al., Defendants.
J. JONKER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.
§§ 12131 et seq., by a Vermont prisoner housed at a
privately operated prison in Baldwin, Michigan. 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, Plaintiff's action will be
dismissed for failure to state a claim.
Spencer B. Durham is a Vermont prisoner housed at the North
Lake Correctional Facility (NLCF), a private prison operated
by the GEO Group, Inc., in Baldwin, Michigan. Plaintiff sues
NLCF Warden Ralph Cherry and Corrections Officer R. Wilgus.
alleges that on February 9, 2017, he was issued a
disciplinary misconduct report. He contends that an
investigation was conducted, but information collected during
the investigation was not turned over to him, as allegedly
required by due process. He continues:
(1) . . . On 2/9/2017, CO Wilgus stated to me, “I
[indecipherable] told to go to your cell and get this”
no shake down was ever conducted. I was further advised that
“an inmate dropped a nut.” There is nothing
stated in any of the paperwork required by due process that
identifies the inmate or inmates or states a confidential
informents [sic]. Due process of the United States
Constitution is being violated. Violation of Right to
(2) Violation of Americans with Disabilit[ie]s Act. Plaintiff
has Anti-social personality Disorder, and Bipolar disorder.
Facility is [indecipherable] and taken advantage due to
(Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.3.)
seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief barring
NLCF from proceeding with the hearing on the misconduct
charge and requiring the facility to comply with due process
and not withhold evidence.
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);
Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549
(6th Cir. 2009). 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
elements of a procedural due process claim are: (1) a life,
liberty, or property interest requiring protection under the
Due Process Clause, and (2) a deprivation of that interest
(3) without adequate process. Women's Med. Prof'l
Corp. v. Baird, 438 F.3d 595, 611 (6th Cir. 2006).
Analysis of a procedural due process claim involves two
steps: “[T]he first asks whether there exists a liberty
or property interest which has been interfered with by the
State; the second examines whether the procedures attendant
upon that deprivation were constitutionally
sufficient.” Ky. Dep't of Corr. v.
Thompson, 490 U.S. 454, 460 (1989). The Supreme Court
long has held that the Due Process Clause does not protect
every change in the conditions of confinement having an
impact on a prisoner. See Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S.
215, 225 (1976). In Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472,
484 (1995), the Court set forth the standard for determining
when a state-created right creates a federally cognizable
liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.
According to the Sandin Court, a prisoner is
entitled to the protections of due process only when the
sanction “will inevitably affect the duration of his
sentence” or when a deprivation imposes an
“atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in
relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.”
Sandin, 515 U.S. at 486-87; see also Jones v.
Baker, 155 F.3d ...