United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
J. JONKER CHIEF 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
for failure to state a claim against Defendants Masters,
Schram, Brinkman, Kienitz, Bonevelle, Denman, Blough,
Froberg, Immel, Bauman, Cromell, and Sprader. The Court will
serve the complaint against Defendant Karkkila a/k/a
Erik Anthony Ellington, a state prisoner currently confined
at the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF), filed this
pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Defendants Corrections Officer Gary
Karkkila, Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor R.
Masters, Resident Unit Manager G. Schram, Sergeant Unknown
Brinkman, Lieutenant Unknown Kienitz, Grievance Coordinator
Mary Bonevelle, Sergeant J. T. Denman, Corrections Officer
Unknown Blough, Corrections Officer Unknown Froberg,
Assistant Deputy Warden Anthony Immel, Warden Catherine S.
Bauman, Corrections Officer Unknown Cromell, and Assistant
Deputy Warden Scott Sprader, all of whom were employed at the
Alger Correctional Facility (LMF) during the pertinent time
complaint (ECF No. 1), as well as in his supporting affidavit
(ECF No. 9), Plaintiff alleges that he arrived at LMF on
August 20, 2015. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Parkkila
verbally harassed him between February 3, 2016, and February
21, 2016. On March 20, 2016, Defendant Parkkila discovered
that Plaintiff had complained about him to Defendant Masters.
Defendant Parkkila then wrote a major misconduct ticket on
Plaintiff for having a cup of bleach in his cell. As a result
of the misconduct, Plaintiff was confined to segregation.
Plaintiff was released from segregation on April 16, 2016,
whereupon Defendant Parkkila began harassing him again.
Plaintiff complained to Defendant Masters. On April 22, 2016,
Defendant Parkkila observed Plaintiff returning from his
Al-Islam religious call-out with his Kufi cap on his head.
Defendant Parkkila yelled at Plaintiff to remove his cap.
Plaintiff explained that prison policy allowed him to wear
his Kufi cap to and from religious services. Defendant
Parkkila became irate and stated, “I don't give a
shit about your religio[n] or what policy says, I told you to
remove it.” Plaintiff told Defendant Parkkila that he
was going to file a grievance and Defendant Parkkila
responded, “oh yeah, well you obviously need your room
shaken down for contraband.” Plaintiff filed a
2, 2016, Defendant Parkkila wrote a class II misconduct
ticket on Plaintiff for having a makeshift shelf rigged up in
his cell using string tied between the wall locker and the
bottom bunk. Plaintiff complained to Defendants Park and
Denman, asserting that he believed the misconduct was
discriminatory and retaliatory. Defendants Park and Denman
merely told Plaintiff to take the misconduct and the 5 days
loss of privileges, and to stop writing grievances or go to
segregation. On May 6, 2016, Defendants Brinkman and Schram
denied Plaintiff's step II grievance appeal regarding
Defendant Parkkila's refusal to allow Plaintiff to wear a
Kufi cap. On May 13, 2016, Defendant Parkkila threatened to
kill Plaintiff and/or to plant a knife in Plaintiff's
cell. Defendant Parkkila told Plaintiff he could write all
the grievances he wanted, but told him that if he wanted to
play that game, Defendant Parkkila would win. Id.
Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding this conduct, as well
as complained about it to Defendants Brinkman, Masters, and
20, 2016, Plaintiff returned from his work assignment and
found that someone had poured baby powder and water all over
his legal and personal property. Plaintiff states that
Defendant Parkkila was the only person who had access to his
cell. On May 21, 2016, Defendant Brinkman reviewed
Plaintiff's grievance regarding Defendant Parkkila. In
addition, Defendant Kienitz told Plaintiff not to have his
family members calling the state police to complain about
prison staff. Defendant Kienitz also told Plaintiff that if
he stopped writing grievances, the retaliatory harassment
would stop. On May 22, 2016, Defendant Parkkila refused to
let Plaintiff go to the recreation room to call his family
and attorney. Plaintiff sent letters to Defendants Bauman and
Immel to complain about Defendant Parkkila, but never
received a response.
claims that between May 12, 2016, and May 23, 2016, Defendant
Bonevelle refused to give Plaintiff a step II appeal form,
but finally sent Plaintiff a step II form on June 1, 2016.
Plaintiff claims that Defendants Brinkman, Schram, Bauman,
and Denman all denied his grievances and grievance appeals.
On May 22, 2016, Defendant Blough told Defendant Schram to
have Plaintiff moved to another housing unit. On May 23,
2016, Defendant Schram told Plaintiff that he was being moved
to Maple Unit. Upon Plaintiff's arrival on Maple unit,
officers asked Plaintiff about problems between him and
Defendant Parkkila. Plaintiff believes that Defendant
Parkkila made it known to Maple unit officers that Plaintiff
was a target of his.
claims that Defendants violated his rights under the First,
Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as his state law
rights. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as
well as injunctive and equitable relief.
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).
claims that Defendant Bonevelle interfered in his ability to
exhaust his administrative remedies by refusing to give him
step II appeal forms in a timely manner. Plaintiff has no due
process right to file a prison grievance. The courts
repeatedly have held that there exists no constitutionally
protected due process right to an effective prison grievance
procedure. See Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 467
(1983); Walker v. Mich. Dep't of Corr., 128 F.
App'x 441, 445 (6th Cir. 2005); Argue v.
Hofmeyer, 80 F. App'x 427, 430 (6th Cir. 2003);
Young v. Gundy, 30 F. App'x 568, 569-70 (6th
Cir. 2002); Carpenter v. Wilkinson, No. 99-3562,
2000 WL 190054, at *2 (6th Cir. Feb. 7, 2000); see also
Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430 (7th Cir.
1996); Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 75 (4th Cir. 1994)
(collecting cases). Michigan law does not create a liberty
interest in the grievance procedure. See Olim v.
Wakinekona,461 U.S. 238, 249 (1983); Keenan v.