United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MICHAEL A. BARNER, Plaintiff,
THOMAS MACKIE et al., Defendants.
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, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed for
failure to state a claim.
Michael A. Barner presently is incarcerated with the Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Oaks Correctional
Facility (ECF). He sues the following officials: ECF Warden
Thomas Mackie; ECF Nurse Lori Dumas; the unknown ECF health
care administrator (Unknown Party #1); an unknown ECF health
care employee (Unknown Party #2); and the unknown private
corporation providing health care at ECF (Unknown Party #3).
alleges that, for some time, he has been taking two
medications, Norvasc and Lisinopril, to treat his
hypertension. Plaintiff was transferred from the Kinross
Correctional Facility to ECF, by way of the Chippewa
Correctional Facility and the Charles Egeler Reception and
Guidance Center (RGC). He arrived at ECF on October 6, 2016,
and was placed in the administrative-segregation unit. On
September 14, 2016, while he was at RGC, Plaintiff requested
that both medications be refilled. A one-week supply was
issued to Plaintiff on September 14, 2016. After
Plaintiff's property arrived at ECF, he also received the
remainder of the medication he had brought with him.
Plaintiff complains that he did not receive a medical
examination when he arrived, as policy required.
October 18, 2016, Plaintiff submitted a medical kite, seeking
refills of his blood pressure medications. In the kite,
Plaintiff notified Defendant Dumas that he had exhausted his
medication and that he was experiencing headaches. Although
Dumas ordered the medications immediately, and although they
were received the next day, for an unknown reason, the
medications did not get immediately issued to Plaintiff. On
October 25, 2016, as a result of not receiving his
medications, Plaintiff suffered severe headaches, shortness
of breath, dizziness and a light head, which led him to
briefly pass out in his cell. Plaintiff was promptly
evaluated by a physician, and he reported to the physician
that he had not had his medications since October 11, 2016,
and he suspected the lack of medicine caused his symptoms.
Health care promptly issued the medications to Plaintiff.
alleges that Defendant Dumas was responsible for reviewing
medical kites and ensuring that all services were properly
provided. He alleges that Defendant Mackie was responsible
for ensuring that Plaintiff received appropriate care and
services. According to Plaintiff, Unknown Party #1, as the
health care administrator, was responsible for ensuring the
provision of medical care to prisoners. In addition, he
alleges that Unknown Party #2 was responsible for
administering medications to prisoners in segregation.
Finally, he contends that the private health care corporation
was responsible for having policies that addressed prisoner
health care needs.
relief, Plaintiff seeks substantial compensatory and punitive
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);
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
extent that Petitioner argues that one or more Defendants
violated prison policy by not giving him a physical
examination upon arrival at ECF, he fails to state a
constitutional claim. Defendant's alleged failure to
comply with an administrative rule or policy does not itself
rise to the level of a constitutional violation. Laney v.
Farley, 501 F.3d 577, 581 n.2 (6th Cir. 2007); Brody
v. City of Mason, 250 F.3d 432, 437 (6th Cir. 2001);
Smith v. Freland, 954 F.2d 343, 347-48 (6th Cir.
1992); Barber v. City of Salem, 953 F.2d 232, 240
(6th Cir. 1992); McVeigh v. Bartlett, No. 94-23347,
1995 WL 236687, at *1 (6th Cir. Apr. 21, 1995) (failure to
follow policy directive does not rise to the level of a
constitutional violation because policy directive does not
create a protectible liberty interest). Section 1983 is
addressed to remedying violations of federal law, not state
law. Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 924
(1982); Laney, 501 F.3d at 580-81.
extent that Plaintiff alleges a violation of the Eighth
Amendment, he also fails to state a claim. The Eighth
Amendment prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual
punishment against those convicted of crimes. U.S. Const.
amend. VIII. The Eighth Amendment obligates prison
authorities to provide medical care to incarcerated
individuals, as a failure to provide such care would be
inconsistent with contemporary standards of decency.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 102, 103-04 (1976). The
Eighth Amendment is violated when a prison ...