United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL AND DIRECTING PLAINTIFF TO
FURNISH COPIES OF COMPLAINT
H. CLELAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGEq
a pro se prisoner civil rights case. Michigan state
prisoner Donnell DeFrance Williams is a state prisoner
incarcerated at the Muskegon Correctional Facility in
Muskegon, Michigan. He asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff names forty-seven Defendants. He alleges that
the Defendants have retaliated against him for filing
grievances by denying him access to legal documents,
destroying legal documents, denying him a previously assigned
prison job, denying him due process for his grievances,
filing false misconduct charges, placing him in segregation,
and threatening him with physical harm. He seeks monetary
relief. The court will dismiss Defendants Scheutte, Heyns,
Washington, Palette, Paterson, Van Hoek, Berghuis, Rodrick,
Flynn, Dobe, and Burt, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2), because Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon
which relief may be granted against them.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint set
forth “a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” as well as
“a demand for the relief sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), (3). The purpose of this rule is 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) and Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). While this notice pleading standard does not
require “detailed” factual allegations,
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, it does require more than
the bare assertion of legal conclusions or “an
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
has been granted leave to proceed without prepayment of the
filing fee for this action. Under the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (“PLRA”), the court is required to
sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis
complaint before service on a defendant if it determines that
the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Similarly, the court is required to dismiss a
complaint seeking redress against government entities,
officers, and employees that it finds to be frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §
state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege
that: (1) she was deprived of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the federal Constitution or laws of the United
States; and (2) the deprivation was caused by a person acting
under color of state law. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436
U.S. 149, 155-57 (1978). A pro se civil rights
complaint is to be construed liberally. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
Defendants Scheutte, Heyns, Washington, Berghuis, and
allegations against Defendants Scheutte, Heyns, Washington,
Berghuis, and Burt are based upon their supervisory
authority. The doctrine of respondeat superior does
not apply in § 1983 lawsuits to impute liability onto
supervisory personnel, see Monell v. Department of Social
Services of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 691-95, 98 S.Ct.
2018 (1978), unless it is shown “that the supervisor
encouraged the specific incident of misconduct or in some
other way directly participated in it.” Bellamy v.
Bradley, 729 F.2d 416, 421 (6th Cir. 1984). A
supervisor's failure to supervise, train or control an
employee is not actionable under § 1983, unless the
plaintiff shows “the official at least implicitly
authorized, approved, or knowingly acquiesced in the
unconstitutional conduct . . .” Hays v. Jefferson
County, Ky., 668 F.2d 869, 874 (6th Cir. 1982); see
also Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir.
1999) (“[A] supervisory official's failure to
supervise, control or train the offending individual is not
actionable unless the supervisor either encouraged the
specific incident of misconduct or in some other way directly
participated in it.”) (internal quotation marks
omitted). In this case, Plaintiff fails to allege any
specific conduct by these Defendants that would support a
finding that they directly participated in, encouraged, or
implicitly authorized or approved the alleged
unconstitutional conduct. They will be dismissed from this
Defendants Palette, Paterson, and Van Hoek
nature of Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Palette,
Paterson, and Van Hoek is difficult to discern. These
Defendants are attorneys who apparently represented
Petitioner in his state court criminal proceedings. Plaintiff
seems to challenge the adequacy of their representation
during the criminal proceedings.
the essential elements of a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
is that the conduct complained of was committed by a person
acting under color of state law. Parratt v. Taylor,
451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981). To be a “state actor, ”
a party's actions must be “‘fairly
attributable to the state.'” Ellison v.
Garbarino, 48 F.3d 192, 195 (6th Cir. 1995), quoting
Lugar v. Edmundson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 937 (1982).
Attorneys representing clients in criminal actions do not act
under color of law for § 1983 purposes, even where such
attorneys are appointed by the government to represent the
criminal defendant. Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S.
312 (1981). Thus, these Defendants were not acting under
color of state law in representing Plaintiff in his criminal
Defendants Ingram, ...