United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
L. Maloney 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, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint
on grounds of immunity against Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) Bureau of Health Care (also described as
the department or office of health care). The Court will
serve the complaint against Defendants Corizon Inc.,
Papendick, Orlebeke, Johnston, Lindstrom, Peek, Rider, and
is presently incarcerated at the Lakeland Correctional
Facility in Coldwater, Michigan. He complains that Defendants
have been deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious
medical needs during his placement at Lakeland. Plaintiff is
suing Corizon, Inc. (Corizon) and the Michigan Department of
Corrections Bureau of Health Care; Corizon Doctors Keith
Papendick and Erin Orlebeke; MDOC Doctor Oliver L. Johnson;
Lakeland Correctional Facility Nurses Randy Lindstrom, Hope
Peek, Rhonda Rider, and Betsy Roberts-Spreeman; and unknown
John Does and Jane Does employed by the MDOC or Corizon who
participated in the failure to properly care for Plaintiff.
suffers from sudden, involuntary jerking of muscles or groups
of muscles, known as myoclonus. He has been diagnosed with
epilepsy. Since Plaintiff's initial onset of symptoms in
January of 2014 to date, he claims the Defendants have been
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. One
example of that indifference was exhibited recently by
Defendant Rider who, Plaintiff claims, orchestrated
Plaintiff's move from the Special Need Unit at Lakeland
to general population based on a false claim that Plaintiff
did not medically need to be in the Special Need Unit.
Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Rider took this action in
retaliation for Plaintiff filing grievances and health care
requests. Plaintiff contends the indifference was been
demonstrated repeatedly by Defendants in their failure to
take his complaints seriously, to provide the care
recommended by a neurologist, or to revise the plan of care
as Plaintiff's condition worsens. Plaintiff supports his
allegations with pages from his healthcare record and copies
of his grievances as well as the MDOC responses.
seeks compensatory and punitive damages in the amount of $500
per day from January of 2014 to date.
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); Street
v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir.
1996). 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 (1994). Here,
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have been deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of his
Eighth Amendment rights. He further alleges that Defendant
Rider has retaliated against him for filing grievances by
moving him from the Special Needs Unit to the general
population, in violation of Plaintiff's First Amendment
may not maintain a § 1983 action against the Michigan
Department of Corrections. Regardless of the form of relief
requested, the states and their departments are immune under
the Eleventh Amendment from suit in the federal courts,
unless the state has waived immunity or Congress has
expressly abrogated Eleventh Amendment immunity by statute.
See Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman,
465 U.S. 89, 98-101 (1984); Alabama v. Pugh, 438
U.S. 781, 782 (1978); O'Hara v. Wigginton, 24
F.3d 823, 826 (6th Cir. 1993). The MDOC's Bureau of
Health Care Services is a part of the MDOC and likewise
entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. See, e.g.,
Longwish v. Michigan Dep't of Corr. Bureau of Health Care
Servs., No. 12-cv-53, 2012 WL 443023, at *1 (W.D.Mich.
Feb.10, 2012) (“As a division of the MDOC, the Bureau
of Health Care Services also is immune.”); Sain v.
Caruso, No. 11-cv-63, 2011 WL 1458403, at *1 (W.D.Mich.
Apr.15, 2011) (“The Court also will dismiss Defendant
Bureau of Health Care Services because it is immune.”);
Hardy v. Wohlfert, No. 10-cv-1087, 2010 WL 5146590,
at *1, *2 (W.D.Mich. Dec.13, 2010) (holding that BHCS
“is a division of the MDOC” and therefore
“immune from suit.”).
has not expressly abrogated Eleventh Amendment immunity by
statute, Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 341 (1979),
and the State of Michigan has not consented to civil rights
suits in federal court. Abick v. Michigan, 803 F.2d
874, 877 (6th Cir. 1986). In numerous unpublished opinions,
the Sixth Circuit has specifically held that the MDOC is
absolutely immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment.
See, e.g., McCoy v. Michigan, 369
F. App'x 646, 653-54 (6th Cir. 2010); Turnboe v.
Stegall, No. 00-1182, 2000 WL1679478, at *2 (6th Cir.
Nov. 1, 2000). In addition, the State of Michigan (acting
through the MDOC or the MDOC's department or bureau of
healthcare services) is not a “person” who may be
sued under § 1983 for money damages. See Lapides v.
Bd. of Regents, 535 U.S. 613 (2002) (citing Will v.
Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989)).
Therefore, the Court dismisses the Michigan Department of
Corrections Bureau of Health Care Services.