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Mann v. Stump

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

April 27, 2017

GARY STUMP et al., Defendants.



         This is 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 on grounds of immunity and for failure to state a claim.

         Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff Colby Michael Mann is presently incarcerated with the MDOC at the Saginaw Correctional Facility in Freeland, Michigan. The events of which he complains, however, occurred during the last half of 2016, while he was incarcerated at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility (IBC) in Ionia, Michigan.

         On July 4, 2016, IBC prisoner Moore #960938 was assaulted. Plaintiff was written a misconduct ticket for assaulting prisoner Moore. Plaintiff was sent to segregation. Plaintiff met with a hearing investigator with regard to the ticket. On July 6, 2017, Defendant IBC Sergeant Gary Stump wrote a misconduct ticket against Plaintiff for possession of a weapon in connection with the same incident. Plaintiff describes the content of the ticket as follows: “[Plaintiff] stabbed Moore four times and then fled disposing of the weapon.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.3.) Because of the new “charge, ” Plaintiff requested a hearing investigator.

         Two days later, Plaintiff was brought before Defendant Hearing Officer S. Burke. Plaintiff expected that this would be a hearing with respect to the assault ticket only, but he soon learned the hearing related to both tickets. Plaintiff objected because he had not seen an investigator on the possession of a weapon ticket. Defendant Burke proceeded with the hearing anyway and found Plaintiff guilty with respect to both tickets. Plaintiff was classified to segregation.

         On August 2, 2016, a state trooper interviewed Plaintiff with regard to the assault. Plaintiff asked the officer if a weapon was found. The officer informed Plaintiff that no weapon had been found. On November 14, 2016, Plaintiff was arraigned on two charges in connection with the Moore assault: assault with intent to do great bodily harm and possession of a weapon.

         Plaintiff reviewed the video of the incident as part of the criminal proceedings. Plaintiff states: “There is no way Stump could honestly ‘positively identify' me as the attacker [based on the video].” (Id., PageID.4.) The criminal case was dismissed on November 28, 2016, because Moore would not testify at the preliminary examination and Defendant Stump did not show up.

         Plaintiff contends that Defendant Burke violated his due process rights by proceeding with the misconduct hearing and finding Plaintiff guilty when Plaintiff had not been afforded a hearing investigator with respect to the weapon possession ticket. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Stump either falsified documents or withheld evidence, specifically the weapon, because it was never produced. Plaintiff claims he has been relegated to segregation in violation of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights because of Defendants' misconduct. Plaintiff seeks damages in the amount of $30.00 per day for each day he has spent in segregation, punitive damages of $25, 000.00, mental anguish damages of $10, 000, removal of the misconducts from his file, and removal of the Security Threat Group designation.


         I. Failure to state a claim

         A 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)).

         To 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); Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009). 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). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Burke has violated his Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process rights; Defendant Stump has violated ...

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