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Lapine v. Johnson

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

September 13, 2017

DARRIN LAPINE, Plaintiff,
v.
F. JOHNSON et al., Defendants.

          OPINION DISMISSING CLAIMS FOR MISJOINDER AND DENYING LEAVE TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS - THREE STRIKES

          JANET T. NEFF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff sought and was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), 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 without prejudice for misjoinder with respect to Defendants Corizon Inc., the Michigan Department of Corrections, Prison Health Services, Dr. Dominguez, Nurse Friess, Dr. Stievie, Michigan Department of Corrections, Subrina Aiken, A/Sgt. Mathews, and Amy Houtz.

         With the dismissal of the improperly joined claims, it is apparent that Plaintiff is not entitled to proceed in this Court in forma pauperis. Because Plaintiff has filed at least three lawsuits that were dismissed as frivolous, malicious or for failure to state a claim, he is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Accordingly, the Court will order Plaintiff to pay the $400.00 civil action filing fee applicable to those not permitted to proceed in forma pauperis. This fee must be paid within twenty-eight (28) days of this opinion and accompanying order. If Plaintiff fails to pay the fee, the Court will order that this case be dismissed without prejudice. Even if the case is dismissed, Plaintiff must pay the $400.00 filing fee in accordance with In re Alea, 286 F.3d 378, 380-81 (6th Cir. 2002). Upon payment of the $400.00 filing fee, the Court will screen Plaintiff's properly joined claims against Defendants Johnson and VanOpynen.

         Factual Background

         Plaintiff Darrin LaPine is presently incarcerated with the MDOC at the Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan. The events of which he complains, however, occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Lakeland Correctional Facility (LCF) in Coldwater, Michigan, between April 7, 2014, and September 17, 2014.

         Upon Plaintiff's arrival at LCF, he was housed in Unit B-5. Defendant Corrections Officer F. Johnson was the regular second shift unit officer on Plaintiff's unit. Plaintiff and Defendant Johnson were involved in a confrontation on Plaintiff's first day at LCF. According to Plaintiff, thereafter, Defendant Johnson targeted Plaintiff, harassing, threatening, and retaliating against him.

         After Plaintiff arrived at LCF, he began to receive returns of grievances he had written while he was incarcerated at other MDOC facilities. The grievances came to the attention of Defendant Johnson. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Johnson threatened Plaintiff, at least twenty times, with transfer to a less desirable unit if he continued to write grievances.

         On May 22, 2014, Plaintiff alleges that his wrist brace was taken during a shakedown. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Doctor Victor Dominguez, and other medical staff, were notified of the loss, but were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical need.

         On May 29, 2014, Plaintiff and Defendant Johnson were involved in another confrontation. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Johnson and Defendant Prisoner Counselor VanOpynen colluded to transfer Plaintiff to a less desirable unit (the “pole barns”). Captain Watson put a stop to that move, but Plaintiff was still transferred to a different unit, Unit C-3, which Plaintiff describes as better than the pole barns, but worse than Unit B-5.

         On May 30, 2014, after Plaintiff was transferred to Unit C-3, Plaintiff was involved in another confrontation with Defendant Johnson while Plaintiff was on the yard. Defendant Johnson wrote a misconduct ticket on Plaintiff for being out of place. Plaintiff contends the misconduct was false and in retaliation for Plaintiff's grievances against Defendant Johnson. Plaintiff was adjudicated “not guilty” of the misconduct upon a review of the video evidence by the hearing officer.

         Plaintiff alleges that he experienced severe pain in his back, neck, hips, legs, knees, and wrist, while he was at LCF. He submitted numerous health care requests. Plaintiff claims his medical records establish the need for back surgery and a wrist brace, but several Defendants, including Dr. Dominguez, Health Unit Manager Pamella Friess, the MDOC, and Prison Health Services, were deliberately indifferent to those serious medical needs. Plaintiff claims that Dr. Dominguez was also deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's lip sores. Plaintiff claims other Defendants, including Defendant Dr. Jeffrey Stievie, and Subrina Aiken, were also deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs.

         Plaintiff alleges that on August 9, 2014, Defendant Johnson jammed an ID scanner into Plaintiff's hand in the chow hall. Plaintiff contends this was an excessive use of force in violation of the Eighth Amendment as well as a retaliatory act for Plaintiff's exercise of his First Amendment rights.

         On August 26, 2014, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant A/Sgt. Mathews placed Plaintiff in a cage in the control center, with no toilet or water access for several hours. Plaintiff contends that the conditions in the cage violated his Eighth Amendment rights and that Defendant Mathews caged Plaintiff in retaliation for Plaintiff's exercise of his First Amendment rights.

         Plaintiff complains that Unit C-3 had excessive lighting and inadequate ventilation. He complained to Defendant ARUS Amy Houtz, to no avail. Plaintiff claims he suffered severe headaches and could not breathe. Plaintiff filed a grievance against Defendant Houtz on September 2, 2014. Defendant Houtz called Plaintiff into her office on September 10, 2014, and threatened Plaintiff if he did not sign off on the grievances. Plaintiff refused. Plaintiff claims he was transferred to the Adrian Correctional Facility on September 17, 2014, for exercising his First Amendment rights.

         Plaintiff alleges that he has filed grievances regarding all of the conduct of which he complains. He states that the earliest grievance was not exhausted until October 24, 2014, and that all other grievances were not exhausted ...


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