United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING THE
F. Cox United States District Judge
matter has come before the Court on plaintiff Leroy Pee Wee
Plummer's pro se civil rights complaint under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is an inmate at the Cumberland
Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland. The
defendants are the Detroit (Michigan) Police Department, a
Detroit towing company known as Gene's Towing, the
Michigan Department of State in Lansing, Michigan, and the
36th District Court in Detroit.
complaint and exhibits allege that Plaintiff has been
incarcerated since November 10, 2012. On July 23, 2014, the
Detroit Police Department took custody of Plaintiff's
vehicle on Bedford Street in Detroit and then transferred
custody of the vehicle to Gene's Towing. On August 14,
2014, the Michigan Department of State notified Lawrence
Kroh, who was the titled owner of the vehicle and the first
secured party, that the vehicle was taken into custody as an
abandoned vehicle and that Kroh had twenty days in which to
redeem the vehicle by paying the fees and accrued charges to
the custodian of the vehicle, which was Gene's Towing.
alleges that, when his wife and Kroh went to retrieve the
vehicle, the towing company no longer had custody of the
vehicle, and the company would not provide any information
regarding the location of the vehicle. Plaintiff subsequently
received a collection notice for unpaid citations on his
vehicle. He claims that no one can tell him where his vehicle
is, and without the vehicle, his wife has no transportation
to her appointments for the treatment of cancer. He seeks
$2.5 million in damages.
Court recently granted Plaintiff's application to proceed
without prepayment of the fees and costs for this action.
Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, federal
district courts must screen an indigent prisoner's
complaint and dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous,
malicious, fails to state a claim for which relief can be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)
and 1915A; Flanory v. Bonn, 604 F.3d 249, 252 (6th
Cir. 2010); Smith v. Campbell, 250 F.3d 1032, 1036
(6th Cir. 2001); see also Mattox v. Edelman, et al.,
__ F.3d __, __, No. 16-1412, 2017 WL 992510, at *3 n.3
(6th Cir. Mar. 15, 2017) (stating that “28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) requires a district court to dismiss
an [in forma pauperis] complaint if at any point it
determines that the complaint ‘fails to state a claim
on which relief may be granted' ”).
complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law
or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989). “A complaint is subject to dismissal for
failure to state a claim if the allegations, taken as true,
show the plaintiff is not entitled to relief.”
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007).
complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations,
” the “[f]actual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (footnote and
citations omitted). In other words, “a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
‘to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.' ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting 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.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Finally, to prevail on a
claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must prove two elements:
“(1) that he or she was deprived of a right secured by
the Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that
the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of
law.” Robertson v. Lucas, 753 F.3d 606, 614
(6th Cir. 2014).
complaint is frivolous and fails to state a plausible claim
for relief because it does not allege any violation of
federal law. Moreover, for the following reasons, the
defendants are not proper parties to this action.
The Michigan Department of State and the 36th District
the Michigan Department of State issued the abandoned-vehicle
notice regarding Plaintiff's vehicle, the Eleventh
Amendment bars suits against a state or one of its agencies
or departments unless the state has consented to suit.
Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465
U.S. 89, 100 (1984). “Eleventh Amendment immunity
‘bars all suits, whether for injunctive, declaratory or
monetary relief, against the state and its departments, by
citizens of another state, foreigners or its own
citizens.' ” McCormick v. Miami Univ., 693
F.3d 654, 661 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Thiokol Corp. v.
Dep't of Treasury, State of Mich., Revenue
Div., 987 F.2d 376, 381 (6th Cir. 1993)).
state of Michigan . . . has not consented to being sued in
civil rights actions in the federal courts, ”
Johnson v. Unknown Dellatifa, 357 F.3d 539, 545 (6th
Cir. 2004), and “Congress did not intend to abrogate
the states' Eleventh Amendment immunity by passing
section 1983.” Thiokol Corp., 987 F.2d at 383
(citing Quern v. ...