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Jones v. Unknown Cline

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

April 28, 2017

EARL JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN CLINE et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          Paul L. Maloney, United States District Judge

         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 for failure to state a claim.

         Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff Earl Jones is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Kinross Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan. The events of which he complains, however, occurred while he was incarcerated at the Lakeland Correctional Facility (LCF) in Coldwater, Michigan. Plaintiff sues LCF Assistant Resident Unit Manager Unknown Cline, LCF Lieutenant Unknown Chrisman, and LCF prison guard Unknown Jennett. Each Defendant is sued in his individual and official capacity.

         Plaintiff alleges that these Defendants violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights during a period beginning January 3, 2016 and ending with Plaintiff's transfer to Kinross on March 31, 2016. Plaintiff's description of the events giving rise to his complaint is sketchy, at best.

         On January 3, 2016, Plaintiff was in the Control Center for review of a misconduct ticket relating to his receipt of funds from an unknown source. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.3.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Chrisman became incensed during the review and stormed out claiming that Plaintiff was lying. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that he wrote a formal complaint to the warden on January 4, expressing Plaintiff's concern that Defendant Chrisman intended to harass Plaintiff because of Plaintiff's attempt to challenge the misconduct ticket. (Id.)

         Plaintiff acknowledges that, at the time of the misconduct review, he did not know where the money came from, but he eventually learned that the family of another prisoner had sent the money. (Id.) Accordingly, two weeks later, Plaintiff pleaded guilty to the misconduct. (Id.) At that time, he attempted to apologize to Defendant Chrisman, but Chrisman told Plaintiff to get away from him and that Plaintiff would be taught a lesson. (Id.) Plaintiff again drafted a complaint to the warden regarding Chrisman's conduct. (Id., PageID.4.)

         Thereafter, Plaintiff was moved to another unit, a unit Plaintiff describes as “the worst unit on the compound” and a unit for trouble makers. (Id., PageID.4, 11.) As a result of the move, Plaintiff lost his prison job. (Id., PageID.4.) When Plaintiff arrived at the new unit, he was greeted by Defendant Cline who said: “Hello there, Lieutenant Chrisman says to welcome you, that you like to write the Warden and complain, you know what happens to w[h]iners.” (Id.) After Plaintiff had unpacked, Defendant Cline, “with a smirk on his face, ” made him pack up again to bring his duffle bag to the officer station. (Id.)

         On January 24, 2016, Plaintiff says he wrote the warden again to complain about the actions of Defendants Cline, Jennet, and Chrisman.[1] (Id.) Two days later, Plaintiff claims he had a verbal exchange with Defendant Jennet. (Id., PageID.4-5.) Jennet informed Plaintiff that Jennet did not like whiners. (Id.) Jennet shook Plaintiff down. (Id.) In the process of the shakedown, Plaintiff claims that Jennet twice went into a karate guard stance and ultimately “pressed into Plaintiff's back, causing Plaintiff to turn partially around with force.” (Id., PageID.5.)

         Plaintiff next complains that Defendant Chrisman, on March 28, 2016, wrote a “notice of intent” to conduct an administrative hearing to remove funds from Plaintiff's prison account because the money, according to Chrisman, was sent by a fictitious and unidentified person. (Id.) On March 29, Defendant Chrisman reviewed the notice with Plaintiff. (Id.) Plaintiff signed the “notice of intent” specifically requesting a hearing. (Id.) Upon his return to the unit, Plaintiff informed Defendant Cline of the upcoming hearing. (Id., PageID.5-6.)

         On March 30, Defendant Jennet handed Plaintiff a folded paper. (Id., PageID.6.) It was an administrative hearing report prepared by Defendant Cline regarding the removal of funds. (Id.) Although Plaintiff acknowledges he is (or was)[2] in possession of a “notice of intent” where “I waive 24 hour notification of hearing requirements” is checked, he claims the waiver is a forgery. (Id.) On March 31, Plaintiff was woken at 2:00 a.m., handcuffed, and brought to the front of the prison to facilitate his transfer to Kinross. (Id., PageID.6.) Plaintiff was forced to wait more than three hours before his departure. (Id.) While he waited, Defendant Chrisman stopped by and asked Plaintiff “how do you like those apples.” (Id., PageID.6-7.) Plaintiff left the facility at 5:30 a.m. (Id.) Two days later, Plaintiff received his property. (Id., PageID.7.) Several items were missing. (Id.)

         Plaintiff complains that Defendant Jennet violated Plaintiff's right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment when Jennet: (1) called Plaintiff a complainer and whiner; (2) physically assaulted Plaintiff with karate moves; and (3) conspired with the other Defendants to deter Plaintiff from the exercise of a protected interest. (Id., PageID.8.) Plaintiff complains that all three Defendants violated Plaintiff's right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment when they conspired to take Plaintiff's funds and destroy his personal and legal property. (Id.)

         Plaintiff claims it was “Retaliation” for the Defendants to conspire to take Plaintiff's funds, assault Plaintiff, destroy Plaintiff's personal and legal property, and transfer Plaintiff. (Id.)

         Plaintiff claims Defendant Chrisman violated Plaintiff's due process rights when Chrisman wrote a “notice of intent” and then also reviewed it with Plaintiff. Plaintiff further claims that it was a violation of Plaintiff's due process rights for Defendant Chrisman and Defendant Cline to forge the “notice of intent” and deny Plaintiff his administrative hearing.[3]

         Plaintiff seeks a declaration that Defendants have violated his rights. (Id., PageID.9.) He seeks compensatory and punitive damages of $300, 000.00 from each Defendant. (Id., PageID.10.) He seeks the return of the $1, 450.00 taken from his account and the cost of the personal and legal property that was destroyed. (Id.)

         Discussion

         I. Failure ...


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