United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
CHRISTOPHER J. VELTHUYSEN, Plaintiff,
W. HENDERSON et al., Defendants.
L. Maloney, United States District Judgex
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.
Christopher J. Velthuysen presently is incarcerated with the
Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Baraga
Correctional Facility, though the actions about which he
complains occurred at the Chippewa Correctional Facility
(URF). He sues URF reviewing officer W. Henderson and URF
Lieutenant J. Burke.
alleges that, on March 31, 2016, at 12:22 p.m., he was issued
a misconduct ticket for being out of place, a Class II
misconduct. See Mich. Dep't of Corr., Policy
Directive 03.03.105, Attach. B. Plaintiff complains that
Defendant Henderson did not review him on the misconduct
until 48 hours later, well beyond the 24-hour time-frame set
forth in MDOC policy and the facility's handbook.
Plaintiff complained to Henderson that the delay in review
rendered the ticket null and void, but Henderson ignored
April 8, 2016, Defendant Burke held a hearing on the
misconduct charge. Burke found Plaintiff guilty of the
misconduct charge, even though the initial review was not
timely. As a result of the misconduct finding, Plaintiff
received 30 days' loss of privileges, and his security
classification was increased by one point.
contends that Defendants' actions violated
Plaintiff's right to due process. He seeks compensatory
and punitive damages.
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 Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated prison
policy, he fails to state an actionable federal claim. Claims
under§ 1983 can only be brought for “deprivation
of rights secured by the constitution and laws of the United
States.” Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S.
922, 924 (1982). Section 1983 does not provide redress for a
violation of a state law or policy. Pyles v. Raisor,
60 F.3d 1211, 1215 (6th Cir. 1995); Sweeton v.
Brown, 27 F.3d 1162, 1166 (6th Cir. 1994).
Plaintiff's assertion that Defendants violated state law
therefore fails to state a claim under § 1983.
to the extent that Plaintiff contends that he was deprived of
his right to procedural due process, he again fails to state
a claim. Class II and Class III misconducts are minor
misconducts. Mich. Dep't of Corr., Policy Directive
03.03.105 ¶ B. A minor misconduct conviction does not
implicate the due process clause. A prisoner does not have a
protected liberty interest in prison disciplinary proceedings
unless the sanction “will inevitably affect the
duration of his sentence” or the resulting restraint
imposes an “atypical and significant hardship on the
inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison
life.” See Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472,
486-87 (1995). The Sixth Circuit routinely has held that
misconduct convictions that do not result in the loss of good
time are not atypical and significant deprivations and
therefore do not implicate due process. See, e.g., Ingram
v. Jewell, 94 F. App'x 271, 273 (6th Cir. 2004);
Carter v. Tucker, 69 F. App'x 678, 680 (6th Cir.
2003); Green v. Waldren, No. ...