United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
Honorable Paul L. Maloney 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 Defendant MacLaren. The
Court will serve the complaint against Defendant McQuiggin.
Freddy Hardrick, a Michigan state prisoner currently confined
at the Oaks Correctional Facility, filed this pro se
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Defendants Warden Duncan MacLaren and Chaplain Linda
McQuiggin, both of whom were employed by the MDOC at the
Kinross Correctional Facility (KCF) during the pertinent time
period. Plaintiff alleges that he is an observant Muslim and
that his religious belief requires him to participate in the
states that in May of 2016, while he was confined at KCF, he
sent several kites to Defendant McQuiggin requesting to
participate in the fast for the month of Ramadan, which was
to start on June 6, 2016. Defendant McQuiggin responded by
stating that Plaintiff had missed the deadline. Plaintiff
then kited Defendant MacLaren and asked him to intervene on
his behalf. Defendant MacLaren did not respond to
Plaintiff's kite. Plaintiff spoke to unit block
representatives Boudreaux #449302 and Palmer #212599, who had
received similar complaints from other prisoners. Prisoners
Boudreaux #449302 and Palmer #212599 approached Corrections
Officer Moran, who phoned Defendant McQuiggin. Defendant
McQuiggin told Officer Moran that she had sent out a policy
memorandum to each housing unit setting forth the deadline.
Plaintiff sent a note to Defendant McQuiggin explaining that
he never saw the memo and was not aware of the deadline.
Plaintiff did not receive a response to his note.
states that housing unit block representatives Boudreaux
#449302 and Palmer #212599 walked around the unit and
collected the names of all the prisoners who were seeking to
participate in the Ramadan fast. The block representatives
took the names collected to the Warden Forum meeting, and
submitted the names to Administrative Assistant David Mastaw.
Mr. Mastaw indicated that he would submit the names to
Defendant McQuiggin, and that they would be allowed to
participate in the fast.
6, 2016, the first day of the fast, Plaintiff walked over to
the Ramadan meal lines with his unit. Once there, Plaintiff
discovered that his name and the names of several other
inmates were not on the list. Plaintiff explained the
situation to Captain Colvin, who said that if there were
enough Ramadan meals, Plaintiff and the other prisoners would
be fed. Plaintiff states that the prisoners who were omitted
from the list all received Ramadan meal bags, and that the
food steward recorded all their names and added them to the
7, 2016, Plaintiff had still not received an
“itinerary” for Ramadan meals, which indicated
that he had not been added to the list. When Plaintiff
arrived for his meal, he and the other prisoners without an
itinerary were being turned away by corrections officers.
Plaintiff sought assistance from Captain Colvin, who stated
that he did not have a problem accommodating him for Ramadan,
but that he could not go over Defendant McQuiggin's head.
Plaintiff was told that he needed to straighten things out
with Defendant McQuiggin and that he would not be able to
come back to the Ramadan meal line without an itinerary or he
would receive a ticket for being out of place. Food Service
Director Shawn McMullien told Plaintiff that accommodating
Plaintiff would be no problem, but that Plaintiff had to get
Defendant McQuiggin to add his name to the list. Plaintiff
never received a response from Defendant McQuiggin to his
request to be added to the list. Nor did Plaintiff receive a
response from Defendant MacLaren.
made attempts to fast by sneaking his food from the chow
hall, but Plaintiff was forced to dispose of the food on
several occasions because prisoners are not allowed to remove
food from the chow hall. After one week of attempting to fast
this way, Plaintiff began to experience headaches, extreme
hunger, and problems with bowel movements due to lack of
food. Consequently, Plaintiff was forced to give up fasting
during Ramadan. Plaintiff filed a grievance, but did not
receive a step I response until three days before the Ramadan
fast ended. At that point, Plaintiff was interviewed by
Deputy Warden Cecil Daley, who stated that it was his fault
and that he should have heard Plaintiff on his complaint
sooner so that he could have placed Plaintiff on call-out.
Deputy Warden Daley told Plaintiff that he did not know why
Defendant McQuiggin had not placed Plaintiff on call-out, and
that they were going to come up with a better plan
“next year.” Plaintiff states that
Defendants' conduct violated his First Amendment right to
exercise his religious beliefs. Plaintiff seeks compensatory
and punitive damages, as well as 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).
plaintiff bringing an action pursuant to § 1983 cannot
premise liability upon a theory of respondeat superior or
vicarious liability. Street v. Corr. Corp. of Am.,
102 F.3d 810, 818 (6th Cir. 1996) (citing Monell v. New
York City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658
(1978)). Plaintiff must establish that Defendant MacLaren was
personally involved, or that he otherwise encouraged or
condoned the action of the offending employees. Copeland
v. Machulis, 57 F.3d 476, 481 (6th Cir. 1995) (citing
Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 375-76 (1976) and
Bellamy v. Bradley, 729 F.2d 416, 421 (6th Cir.
1984)). There must be more than merely a right to control
employees, as Plaintiff must show that Defendant MacLaren at
least implicitly authorized, approved, or knowingly
acquiesced in the unconstitutional conduct of the offending
employees. Walton v. City of Southfield, 995 F.2d
1331, 1340 (6th Cir. 1993); Leach v. Shelby County
Sheriff, 891 F.2d 1241, 1246 (6th Cir. 1989). Plaintiff
fails to allege any facts that show Defendant MacLaren
encouraged or condoned the conduct of the officers, or ...