United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
KENNETH W. LAVERTY, JR., # 639609 Plaintiff,
MICHIGAN PAROLE BOARD, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING
L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge
March 17, 2017 Plaintiff Kenneth W. Laverty, Jr., a state
prisoner proceeding pro se, filed a civil rights
complaint challenging an administrative decision not to
release him on parole. See Compl., ECF No. 1.
Plaintiff is incarcerated at the G. Robert Cotton
Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan. The defendants
are the Michigan Parole Board and two members of the Parole
Board: Sandra A. Wilson and Melissa K. Jennings. Plaintiff
seeks money damages and injunctive relief for alleged
violations of state and federal law. Because Plaintiff is not
entitled to the relief he seeks, his complaint will be
to Plaintiff's complaint, on March 15, 2013, Plaintiff
was sentenced to prison for sixteen to sixty months. In 2014,
a member of the Michigan Parole Board interviewed Plaintiff
and declined to release Plaintiff on parole because the Board
lacked reasonable assurance that Plaintiff would not become a
menace to society or to the public safety. In 2015, a
different member of the Parole Board interviewed Plaintiff
and deferred making a decision until after Plaintiff
completed a substance abuse treatment program and a sex
alleges that, although he subsequently completed those
programs, he was denied parole on July 12, 2015 because the
Parole Board lacked reasonable assurance that he would not
become a menace to society or to the public safety.
2017, Plaintiff received a notice of the Parole Board's
intent to interview him, but on January 27, 2017, the Parole
Board decided not to interview Plaintiff and, instead,
continued Plaintiff's incarceration for another twelve
months. Once again, the Parole Board stated that it lacked
reasonable assurance that Plaintiff would not become a menace
to society or to the public safety.
filed the instant civil rights complaint on March 17, 2017.
He alleges that because the Parole Board declined to
interview him, the Board was unable to consider such factors
as his institutional program performance, his employment or
readiness for employment, his physical and mental condition,
his mental health or psychiatric history, his parole plans on
release from custody, and his readiness to accept
responsibility for his actions. Plaintiff alleges claims
against Defendants in their official capacities for money
damages and for an order compelling the Parole Board to
Court has granted Plaintiff permission to proceed without
prepaying the fees and costs for this action. See
ECF No. 3. Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act of
1996, federal district courts must screen an indigent
prisoner's complaint and dismiss the complaint if it is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim for which relief
can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who
is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A; Flanory v. Bonn, 604 F.3d
249, 252 (6th Cir. 2010); Smith v. Campbell, 250
F.3d 1032, 1036 (6th Cir. 2001). A complaint is frivolous if
it lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). “A complaint
is subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim if the
allegations, taken as true, show the plaintiff is not
entitled to relief.” Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S.
199, 215 (2007).
complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations,
” the “[f]actual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (footnote and
citations omitted). In other words, “a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
‘to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting 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.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
because Plaintiff seeks to enforce his constitutional rights
under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution, the Court construes the complaint as one
brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To prevail on a claim
under § 1983, a plaintiff must prove two elements:
“(1) that he was deprived of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) that the
deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of
law.” Robertson v. Lucas, 753 F.3d 606, 614
(6th Cir. 2014).
noted above, Plaintiff seeks money damages from the
defendants. His damages claim against the Michigan Parole
Board is frivolous because “[t]he Parole Board is an
entity within the [Michigan Department of Corrections],
see Mich. Comp. Laws § 791.231a, and the
[Michigan Department of Corrections] is, in turn, an
administrative agency within the executive branch of
Michigan's government.” See Mich. Const.
1963, art. 5, § 2; In re Parole of Bivings, 242
Mich.App. 363; 619 N.W.2d 163, 167-68 (Mich. Ct. App.
2000).” Fleming v. Martin, 24 F. App'x
258, 259 (6th Cir. 2001). As a state entity, “the
Parole Board is immune from suit under the Eleventh
Amendment.” Id.; see also Lee v. Mich.
Parole Bd., 104 F. App'x 490, 492 (6th Cir. 2004)
(stating that the plaintiff's claims against the Parole
Board and other state entities were barred by the Eleventh
Parole Board also is not a “person” under §
1983. As such, it cannot be sued for money damages under
§ 1983. Harrison v. ...