United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. Neff, United States District Judge.
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 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
for failure to state a claim against Defendants Trierweiler,
McCaully, Davids, and Robinson. The Court will serve the
complaint against Defendants Phol, Normington, and Mote, but
only with respect to Plaintiff's claim for violation of
his First Amendment right to freely exercise his religion.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility
(JCF) in Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan. The events about
which he complains, however, occurred over a ten-day period
beginning December 13, 2016, at the Bellamy Creek
Correctional Facility (IBC) in Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan.
Plaintiff sues IBC Warden Unknown Trierweiler; IBC Deputy
Wardens Unknown McCaully and Unknown Davids; IBC Residential
Unit Manager Unknown Mote; IBC Assistant Residential Unit
Supervisor Laura Normington; IBC Corrections Officer Unknown
Phol; and IBC Grievance Coordinator Marshaun
Robinson. Each defendant is sued in his or her personal and
time during the first or second week of December, 2016,
Plaintiff transferred in to IBC. He was housed in segregation
until he was transferred to JCF on December 23, 2016.
alleges that he is a practitioner of the Native American
religion. As part of his religious practices, Plaintiff keeps
and wears a medicine bag. The MDOC permits members of the
Native American religious group to possess a medicine bag,
One medicine bag, no larger than 3”x5” when laid
flat, with contents restricted to sage, sweet grass, cedar,
bear berry leaf, mullein leaf, red willow bark, red sumac
leaf, spearmint leaf, peppermint leaf, and lavender. The
contents also may include protection medicine, such as a
small pebble or piece of legal vegetation that is considered
by the prisoner to have special significance but does not
pose a threat to the custody and security of the facility.
When the medicine bag is worn, it must be worn around the
neck on [a] strip of leather or string no longer than
Policy Directive 05.03.150A. Certain religious items are
prohibited in segregation. See MDOC Policy Directive
04.05.120B. Although medicine bags are not expressly
prohibited, such bags may be prohibited because they include
other prohibited items such as “[d]rawstrings, . . .
[s]trings, ropes, cords, [or] strips of leather[.]”
contacted Defendants Normington, Mote, Davids, McCaully, and
Trierweiler seeking possession of his medicine bag.
Defendants Normington and Mote refused. Defendants Davids,
McCaully, and Trierweiler never responded.
Plaintiff was transferred to JCF, he was placed in general
population. There, he was permitted to possess his medicine
made several attempts to grieve the ten-day deprivation of
his medicine bag. He claims that Defendant Robinson refused
to properly process the grievances.
contends that Defendants violated his First Amendment right
to freely exercise his religion by depriving him of his
medicine bag. Plaintiff contends Defendants further violated
his First Amendment rights by retaliating against him for
filing grievances and lawsuits relating to an earlier
deprivation of Plaintiff's medicine bag by some of the
Defendants. Plaintiff asks the Court to award him $5, 000.00
in compensatory and punitive damages against each defendant.
Plaintiff's fourth of five suits involving his medicine
1. Cary v. Robinson et al., 1:13-cv-431 (W.D.