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Jackson v. Ingham County Jail

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 10, 2017

PAUL JACKSON et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
INGHAM COUNTY JAIL, Defendants.

          OPINION

          Janet T. Neff United States District Judge.

         This is a civil rights action, originally brought by three Ingham County Jail inmates pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Since filing, the Court has denied lead Plaintiff Jackson leave to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF Nos. 9-10), because he had previously filed at least three cases that were dismissed on the grounds that they were frivolous, malicious or failed to state a claim. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). The Court subsequently dismissed Plaintiff Jackson's claims without prejudice (ECF No. 17), because he failed to pay his $133.33 portion of the civil action filing fee. In the same order, the Court dismissed without prejudice the claims of Plaintiff Lorenzo Chestner, because he failed either to pay his proportionate share or the filing fee or to file the documents necessary to apply to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No. 16) to Plaintiff Keith Medlin, who is now the sole remaining Plaintiff in the case.

         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.

         Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff Keith Medlin presently is incarcerated at the Ingham County Jail (ICJ). He sues the ICJ, the Ingham County Sheriff Department (ICSD), and Deputy Sheriffs Scott Wrigglesworth, (unknown) Gaston, and (unknown) Wallace.

         Although the allegations of the complaint are at times stated in lead Plaintiff Jackson's first-person-singular voice, the Court assumes that all allegations are also personal to remaining Plaintiff Medlin. In addition, the complaint purports to be filed as a class action for all similarly situated prisoners.

         According to the complaint, Plaintiff is lodged in a cell originally designed for one person, which is presently occupied by two people. The cell is made of brick on all four sides, with a solid entrance door. Plaintiff is locked in his cell for 18 hours in every day, with two periods, 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 to 11:00 p.m., spent in a television room with 30 prisoners. He asserts that no running or other cardio-vascular exercise is permitted in the out-of-cell area.

         Plaintiff alleges that the toilet for his cell is digitally timed to flush only twice in every hour. He complains that, if both prisoners use the toilet once during the course of an hour, no flushes remain until the hour has passed. Plaintiff alleges that, when one of the prisoners needs to use the toilet a third time in the hour, his urine and feces must remain in the toilet until the timer is reset. He contends that, in such instances, he must smell the odors of the urine or feces until the toilet can be flushed again. Plaintiff also complains that, should he need to defecate during that period, he may experience unsanitary toilet-bowl splash. In addition, he contends, when the toilets flush, urine and feces from other cells sometimes come up in his cell's toilet. Further, when showers are taken, the water runs for only three minutes, which Plaintiff contends is too little to wash the offending germs from his body.

         In addition, Plaintiff claims that the prison has closed one “post” due to the presence of black mold. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.8.) Plaintiff states that he and other prisoners have no way of knowing if the spores are airborne and therefore dangerous. He therefore seeks a health inspection, physical examinations of all prisoners' lungs, and a federal investigation.

         Plaintiff contends that the complained-of conditions have caused him “mental anguish, smell and suffering.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.9.) He seeks compensatory and punitive damages, together with injunctive relief.

         Discussion

         I. Class action

         Plaintiff has entitled his complaint as a class action, which the Court construes as a request for class certification. For a case to proceed as a class action, the court must be satisfied on a number of grounds, including the adequacy of class representation. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)(4). It is well established that pro se litigants are inappropriate representatives of the interests of others. See Garrison v. Mich. Dep't of Corr., 333 F. App'x 914, 919 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Oxendine v. Williams, 509 F.2d 1405, 1407 (4th Cir. 1975)); see also Dodson v. Wilkinson, 304 F. App'x 434, 438 (6th Cir. 2008); Ziegler v. Michigan, 59 F. App'x 622, 624 (6th Cir. 2003); Palasty v. Hawk, 15 F. App'x 197, 200 (6th Cir. 2001); Howard v. Dougan, No. 99-2232, 2000 WL 876770, at *1 (6th Cir. June 23, 2000). Because Plaintiff is an incarcerated pro se litigant, the Court finds that he is not an appropriate representative of a class. Therefore, the Court will deny Plaintiff's request for class certification.

         II. Failure ...


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