United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. Neff 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 Plaintiffs
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 Aiken, Alton,
Lamb, and Harbaugh. The Court will serve the complaint
against Defendants Washington, Corizon Health Services,
Burke, and Kerstein.
Brian Haag is presently incarcerated with the Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Bellamy Creek
Correctional Facility (IBC) in Ionia, Michigan. Plaintiff
complains that Defendants have been deliberately indifferent
to Plaintiff's serious medical need (he suffers from
restless leg syndrome) at IBC and at his prior placement, the
Saginaw Correctional Facility (SRF) in Freeland, Michigan.
Plaintiff sues MDOC Director Heidi Washington and MDOC
contracted healthcare provider Corizon Health Services in
their respective official capacities. He sues MDOC Nurse R.
Harbaugh, IBC Doctor Gail Burke, IBC Nurse S. Aiken, SRF
Doctor Unknown Kerstein, SRF Nurse S. Alton, and SRF Nurse
Patricia Lamb, all in their official and personal capacities.
complaint is straightforward. He suffers from restless leg
syndrome. He enjoyed some relief on a drug known as Sinemet.
Defendant Kerstein took Plaintiff off the drug. Thereafter
Plaintiff suffered pain and sleep disturbance and his
restlessness caused strife with bunkmates. Plaintiff filed a
grievance against Defendant Kerstein. Defendant Alton denied
the grievance at the first step. Defendant Lamb denied the
grievance at the second step.
Plaintiff was transferred to IBC, he raised the issue with
Defendant Burke. Dr. Burke also failed to provide the
treatment Plaintiff wanted. Plaintiff filed a grievance
against Dr. Burke. It was denied at each step. Defendant
Harbaugh authored the denial at Step III.
has offered to pay for the medication. He has offered to pay
for outside medical treatment for his condition. Defendants
have simply refused to provide the care he wants. At IBC,
Plaintiff has been referred to mental health healthcare
seeks injunctive relief compelling the MDOC and Corizon to
treat the pain and other symptoms associated with his
restless leg syndrome. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages
in the amount of $50, 000.00 and punitive damages in the
amount of $10, 000.00 per Defendant.
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). Here,
Plaintiff contends that the Defendants have been deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs. Such indifference
would violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against
cruel and unusual punishment.
It is a
basic pleading essential that a plaintiff attribute factual
allegations to particular defendants. See Twombly,
550 U.S. at 544 (holding that, in order to state a claim, a
plaintiff must make sufficient allegations to give a
defendant fair notice of the claim). Where a person is named
as a defendant without an allegation of specific conduct, the
complaint is subject to dismissal, even under the liberal
construction afforded to pro se complaints. See
Frazier v. Michigan, 41 F. App'x 762, 764 (6th Cir.
2002) (dismissing the plaintiff's claims where the
complaint did not allege with any degree of specificity which
of the named defendants were personally involved in or
responsible for each alleged violation of rights);
Griffin v. Montgomery, No. 00-3402, 2000 WL 1800569,
at *2 (6th Cir. Nov. 30, 2000) (requiring allegations of
personal involvement against each defendant)); Rodriguez
v. Jabe, No. 90-1010, 1990 WL 82722, at *1 (6th Cir.
June 19, 1990) (“Plaintiff's claims against those
individuals are without a basis in law as the complaint is
totally devoid of allegations as to them which would suggest
their involvement in the events leading to his
injuries.”); see also Wright v. Smith, 21 F.3d
496, 501 (2d Cir. 1994); Krych v. Hvass, 83 F.
App'x 854, 855 (8th Cir. 2003); Potter v. Clark,
497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir. 1974); Williams v.
Hopkins, No. 06-14064, 2007 WL 2572406, at *4 (E.D.
Mich. Sept. 6, 2007); McCoy v. McBride, No.
3:96-cv-227RP, 1996 WL 697937, at *2 (N.D. Ind. Nov. 5,
1996); Eck ...