United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. Neff United States District Court 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, Plaintiff's action will be dismissed for
failure to state a claim.
Mark Colin Jennings, II, is presently incarcerated with the
Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Oaks
Correctional Facility (ECF) in Manistee, Michigan. The events
about which he complains, however, began while he was
incarcerated at the Kinross Correctional Facility (KCF) in
Kincheloe, Michigan, and continued when he was transferred to
ECF in February of 2016. Plaintiff sues KCF Warden Duncan
MacLaren; ECF Warden Tom Mackie; MDOC Deputy Director Kenneth
McKee; KCF nurses Julie Hessenlink and Shannon Martin; and
KCF Corrections Officer E. MacDonald.
alleges that from February 12, 2015, to March 12, 2015, he
was restricted to non-contact visits by Defendant MacLaren.
Beginning September 3, 2015 to date, Defendants have denied
Plaintiff any visits. Plaintiff states that these
restrictions have been imposed for no legitimate penological
reason. Plaintiff's further allegations, however, shed
some light on why he has been denied normal visitation
acknowledges that he has been denied visits because of two
substance abuse misconducts. MDOC policy provides in
HH. The Warden shall limit a prisoner of any security level
to non-contact visits for a period of 30 days if the prisoner
is found guilty of a Class I misconduct violation of
substance abuse for behavior that occurred on or after August
27, 2003 . . . .
BBB. [T]he Director may restrict all of a prisoner's
visits if the prisoner is convicted or found guilty of . . .
[t]wo or more violations of the Class I misconduct charge of
substance abuse for behavior that occurred on or after
January 1, 2007, which do not arise from the same incident.
This includes failure to submit to substance abuse testing.
Policy Directive 05.03.140, Prisoner Visiting (eff.
5/22/2017). It appears that Plaintiff's
restriction to non-contact visits followed his first
substance abuse misconduct and the total restriction followed
his second substance abuse misconduct.
contention that his visitation privileges have been
restricted without reason follows from his further
allegations that the substance abuse misconducts were based
on false, hearsay testimony and, thus, violated his right to
due process as well as his right to confrontation. Plaintiff
claims that Defendants Hessenlink and Martin, with the
assistance of Defendant McDonald, wrote the substance abuse
misconduct reports in retaliation for Plaintiff's filing
of a grievance against Defendants Hessenlink and Martin.
asks the Court to declare that Plaintiff's constitutional
rights have been violated, enter preliminary and permanent
injunctive relief ordering Defendants to restore
Plaintiff's right to receive visitors; and grant costs,
compensatory damages, 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 - ...