United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER (1) SUMMARILY DISMISSING THE
COMPLAINT UNDER 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(E)(2)(B) AND
1915A(B), AND (2) DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION (DKT. 5) AS
A. GOLDSMITH, United States District Judge
Donald Sturgis, proceeding pro se, is a state prisoner at the
Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, Michigan. Sturgis
purports to bring this civil-rights action with his brother,
David Poole. See generally Compl. (Dkt. 1). The
Federal Bureau of Investigation is the sole defendant in this
complaint alleges that the Lapeer County Sheriff's
Department issued a purchase permit to Poole, but the FBI
deprived Poole of his Second Amendment right to bear arms by
denying Poole's application for a permit to carry a
concealed weapon. Compl. at 1-2 (cm/ecf pages). The purported
basis for denying the permit was the fact that Sturgis has a
criminal record and is serving a Michigan sentence.
Id. at 2 (cm/ecf page). Sturgis alleges that Poole
lacks a felony record and meets the criteria for carrying a
concealed weapon, because Poole's business takes him to
several urban crime areas at all hours of the night.
Id. Sturgis further asserts that his record is no
excuse for the FBI to deny Poole his right to bear arms and
that, without the permit, the Sturgis family also is at risk
for crime and violence. Id.
seek an order directing the FBI to show cause why the agency
has denied Poole his Second Amendment right to bear arms. In
addition, if the agency provides an unsatisfactory
explanation, Plaintiffs seek an order compelling the FBI to
comply with the requirements of the Second Amendment and to
issue the desired concealed weapons permit. Plaintiffs also
filed a motion (Dkt. 5) seeking a court order for the FBI to
provide a responsive pleading.
STANDARD OF DECISION
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 requires federal
district courts to screen a prisoner's complaint and to
dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim on 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), 1915A(b);
Flanory v. Bonn, 604 F.3d 249, 252 (6th Cir. 2010).
“In determining whether a prisoner has failed to state
a claim, [courts] construe his complaint in the light most
favorable to him, accept his factual allegations as true, and
determine whether he can prove any set of facts that would
entitle him to relief.” Harbin-Bey v. Rutter,
420 F.3d 571, 575 (6th Cir. 2005).
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). 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). “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.”
Court begins its analysis by addressing the issue of
Sturgis' standing. Section 1983 provides:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
redress . . . .
42 U.S.C. § 1983. A “§ 1983 cause of action,
by virtue of the explicit language of the section itself, is
a personal action cognizable only by the party whose civil
rights had been violated[.]” Jaco v. Bloechle,
739 F.2d 239, 242 (6th Cir. 1984).
facts, as alleged in the complaint before the Court, fail to
demonstrate that the FBI did anything to violate
Sturgis's civil rights. Thus, Sturgis cannot state a
claim against the FBI, because he at no point had standing to
assert a claim on behalf of others, such as Poole and the
Sturgis family. Barnett v. Luttrell, 414 F.App'x
784, 787 (6th Cir. 2011).
would have standing because the complaint alleges that the
FBI denied his application to carry a concealed weapon.
Nevertheless, Poole did not sign the complaint. He also did
not pay his share of the filing fee or submit an application
to proceed without prepaying the fees and costs for this
action. It is unclear whether he even intended to join this
assuming that Poole is a party to this action, the complaint
must be dismissed because, “[a]bsent a waiver,
sovereign immunity shields the Federal Government and its
agencies from suit, ” and “[s]overeign immunity
is jurisdictional in nature.” F.D.I.C. v.
Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994). “[T]he FBI is a
federal agency and . . . Congress has ...