United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
L. MALONEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT 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
against Defendants Asche, Aho, Willbanks, Lamb, Harbaugh, and
Russell for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at Newberry Correctional Facility (NCF) in
Newberry, Luce County, Michigan. The events about which he
complains, however, occurred at the Ojibway Correctional
Facility (OCF) in Marenisco, Gogebic County, Michigan.
Plaintiff sues Medical Provider Unknown Asche, Registered
Nurse V. Aho, Health Unit Manager J. Willbanks, Registered
Nurse Patricia Lamb, Registered Nurse R. Harbaugh, and
Manager Richard D. Russell.
alleges that he was he denied an accommodation for medically
prescribed athletic shoes by Defendant Asche on August 23,
2016, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff filed a
grievance, which was denied at step I by Defendants Aho and
Willbanks. Plaintiff's step II grievance appeal was
denied by Defendant Lamb on October 5, 2016. Plaintiff's
step III grievance appeal was denied by Defendant Harbaugh on
November 21, 2016. The step III denial was approved by
Defendant Russell. Plaintiff seeks damages and equitable
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).
the Court notes that Plaintiff fails to make specific factual
allegations against Defendants Aho, Willbanks, Lamb,
Harbaugh, and Russell, other than his claim that they failed
to conduct an investigation in response to his grievances.
Government officials may not be held liable for the
unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates under a theory
of respondeat superior or vicarious liability.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676; Monell v. New York City
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691(1978);
Everson v. Leis, 556 F.3d 484, 495 (6th Cir. 2009).
A claimed constitutional violation must be based upon active
unconstitutional behavior. Grinter v. Knight, 532
F.3d 567, 575-76 (6th Cir. 2008); Greene v. Barber,
310 F.3d 889, 899 (6th Cir. 2002). The acts of one's
subordinates are not enough, nor can supervisory liability be
based upon the mere failure to act. Grinter, 532
F.3d at 576; Greene, 310 F.3d at 899; Summers v.
Leis, 368 F.3d 881, 888 (6th Cir. 2004). Moreover, '
1983 liability may not be imposed simply because a supervisor
denied an administrative grievance or failed to act based
upon information contained in a grievance. See Shehee v.
Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999).
''[A] plaintiff must plead that each
Government-official defendant, through the official's own
individual actions, has violated the Constitution.''
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676. Plaintiff has failed to
allege that Defendants Aho, Willbanks, Lamb, Harbaugh, and
Russell engaged in any active unconstitutional behavior.
Accordingly, he fails to state a claim against them.
alleges that Defendant Asche refused to provide him with
medically issued athletic shoes or to be evaluated for such
shoes by an outside specialist. The Eighth Amendment
prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment
against those convicted of crimes. U.S. Const. amend. VIII.
The Eighth Amendment obligates prison authorities to provide
medical care to incarcerated individuals, as a failure to
provide such care would be inconsistent with contemporary
standards of decency. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
102, 103-04 (1976). The Eighth Amendment is violated when a
prison official is deliberately indifferent to the serious
medical needs of a prisoner. Id. at 104-05;
Comstock v. McCrary, 273 F.3d 693, 702 (6th Cir.
for the deprivation of adequate medical care has an objective
and a subjective component. Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 834 (1994). To satisfy the objective component, the
plaintiff must allege that the medical need at issue is
sufficiently serious. Id. In other words, the inmate
must show that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a
substantial risk of serious harm. Id. The objective
component of the adequate medical care test is satisfied
''[w]here the seriousness of a prisoner's need[ ]
for medical care is obvious even to a lay person.''
Blackmore v. Kalamazoo Cnty., 390 F.3d 890, 899 (6th
Cir. 2004). If the plaintiff's claim, however, is based
on ''the prison's failure to treat a condition
adequately, or where the prisoner's affliction is
seemingly minor or non-obvious, '' Blackmore v.
Kalamazoo Cnty., 390 F.3d 890, 898 (6th Cir. 2004), the
plaintiff must "place verifying medical evidence in the
record to establish the detrimental effect of the delay in
medical treatment, ''Napier v. Madison
Cnty., 238 F.3d 739, 742 (6th Cir. 2001) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
subjective component requires an inmate to show that prison
officials have ''a sufficiently culpable state of
mind in denying medical care.'' Brown v.
Bargery, 207 F.3d 863, 867 (6th Cir. 2000) (citing
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834). Deliberate indifference
''entails something more than mere negligence,
''Farmer, 511 U.S. at 835, but can be
''satisfied by something less than acts or omissions
for the very purpose of causing harm or with knowledge that
harm will result.'' Id. Under
Farmer, ''the official must both be aware of
facts from which the inference could be drawn that a
substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also
draw the inference.'' Id. at 837.
every claim by a prisoner that he has received inadequate
medical treatment states a violation of the Eighth Amendment.
Estelle, 429 ...