United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
EDWARD L. FINLEY, JR., Plaintiff,
RICHARD D. RUSSELL et al., Defendants.
J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed for
failure to state a claim.
Edward L. Finley, Jr., presently is incarcerated with the
Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Baraga
Maximum Correctional Facility (AMF), though the actions about
which he complains occurred while he was housed at the
Marquette Branch Prison (MBP) and the Kinross Correctional
Facility (KCF). He sues MDOC Hearing Administrator Richard D.
Russell; MDOC Hearing Officer Thomas O. Mohrman; MBP Hearing
Investigator R. Mohr; MBP Sergeant (unknown) James; KCF
Lieutenant (unknown) Maki; KCF Correctional Officer (unknown)
Zimmerman; MBP Deputy Warden Erica Huss; MBP Resident Unit
Manager D. Viitala; MBP Prison Counselor and SCC (Security
Classification Committee) Member R. Horrocks; and MBP SCC
Member Mark H (Unknown Party).
to the complaint, on September 10, 2016, at 9:00 a.m., as
part of a nationwide protest, a large group of prisoners at
KCF walked or marched around the small prison yard at KCF. At
about 9:05 a.m., the control center announced that the yard
was closed and all prisoners were to return to their units.
Shortly thereafter the siren sounded.
alleges that he watched the proceedings from his bunk window,
as prisoners continued to walk in the yard and the crowd grew
larger and larger. According to Plaintiff, at about 10:00
a.m., he was on the unit base, where he saw Defendants
Zimmerman and Butler watching the prisoners in the yard. A
minute or two later, the siren sounded again. No count was
performed after the second siren. Prisoners started leaving
the unit, and neither Zimmerman nor Butler stopped them.
Plaintiff states, “Once I saw that control of the
facility was forfeited, I went outside and walked around the
small yard so I would not get hurt, it was close to 11:00
a.m.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.5.) Plaintiff listened
to Deputy Warden Terry Harwood speak with the block
representatives in front of the control unit.
denies ever encouraging, advocating, or instigating actions
intended to seriously endanger the physical safety of the
facility, persons, or property. However, before all prisoners
left the yard, a young African-American prisoner was stabbed
because he would not come outside and instead stood by the
officers, who were recording on their phones which prisoners
were walking. All prisoners eventually returned to their
housing units and a count was taken. Prisoners waited in
their cubes for count to clear, when, all of a sudden, all
unit officers took off toward the control center. The
emergency response team (ERT) came out of the surrounding
units with their guns drawn. While one ERT team was at
A-wing, taking prisoners out of their cells and cuffing them,
other ERT teams surrounded other units. While an ERT team was
outside H-Unit, the unit was damaged. When the ERT team came into
H-Unit, it gassed all prisoners without warning. Prisoners
were then taken out of their units, cuffed, taken to the
kitchen, and strip searched in front of other prisoners and
male and female guards.
was transferred to MBP, custody level V, on September 11,
2016, at approximately 3:00 a.m. Plaintiff alleges that he
did not receive a ticket at that time and was never reviewed
on a ticket. He also was not given notice of his higher
custody level or classification to administrative segregation
on the major misconduct ticket. On the morning of September
12, Plaintiff received a ticket for inciting to riot or
strike or rioting or striking, which was written by Defendant
Maki at KCF. Plaintiff promptly sent a kite to the MBP
inspector, indicating that he had not been reviewed on the
ticket. Also that day, Defendant Mohr gave Plaintiff a
“Resident's personal statement and Account of
Charge(s)” form to complete, and Mohr later returned to
pick it up. (Id., PageID.7.) Plaintiff alleges that
Mohr never interviewed Plaintiff and never provided him a
copy of the investigation report. Plaintiff complains that
Defendant Maki did not properly write the ticket and that
Defendant James failed to review the ticket with Plaintiff.
September 13, Plaintiff wrote a grievance against Defendant
James, alleging the falsification of information and
documents, because James falsely stated that Plaintiff had
reviewed the ticket. In his “resident's statement,
” Plaintiff requested that the hearing officer call
Defendants Maki, James and Zimmerman, and he asked that a
number of documents be provided that he claimed were relevant
to his guilt or innocence. At the hearing on September 18,
however, Defendant Mohrman failed to call any of
Plaintiff's witnesses, saying that no further witnesses
were necessary, in light of the other evidence in the record.
On September 20, 2016, Plaintiff received Defendant
Mohrman's misconduct finding, which Plaintiff complains
lacks a citation to evidence or a basis for the finding.
Mohrman sentenced Plaintiff to 30 days' loss of
privileges. Plaintiff kited Defendant Mohrman that day,
requesting his hearing packet.
September 21, 2016, Plaintiff received a separate form
indicating that he had been classified to administrative
segregation. He complains that Defendants Huss, Viitala,
Horrocks, and Unknown Party failed to give him proper notice
of reclassification and that no hearing was conducted by an
administrative law judge. Defendant Huss told Plaintiff that
the reclassification was made pending investigation of
whether Plaintiff had committed any felony in relation to the
destruction at KCF. Plaintiff sent a kite to Defendant Huss
on September 27 and provided her time to respond to his claim
about the failure to provide notice. Also on September 27,
Plaintiff wrote a grievance on Defendant Mohr for dereliction
of duty. Plaintiff received his copy of the hearing packet on
September 28. Plaintiff filed a request for rehearing with
Defendant Russell on September 28, and on November 23, 2016,
Defendant Russell denied the appeal. On October 7, 2016,
Plaintiff was transferred to AMF and placed in Level V
complains that Defendants denied him due process in charging
him, investigating him, and finding him guilty of the
misconduct ticket. He also alleges that Defendants denied him
due process in the reclassification process. He seeks
declaratory and injunctive relief, together with compensatory
and punitive damages.
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 - ...