United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
JEREMY D. OTROSINKA, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and UNITED STATES CONGRESS, Defendants.
ORDER DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter has come before the Court on plaintiff Jeremy D.
Otrosinka's pro se civil rights complaint under
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of
Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Plaintiff is an inmate at
the Federal Correctional Institution in Milan, Michigan. The
only defendant listed on the face of his complaint is the
United States of America, but plaintiff also appears to be
suing the United States Congress. He alleges that Congress
has engaged in, and continues to engage in, a pattern and
practice of unduly harming him by violating his
constitutional rights and by acting in excess of its
asserts that, as a result of the defendants' conduct, he
has had to conduct extensive legal research, learn federal
law and constitutional principles, and determine how to
challenge and apply federal law. He states that this has
caused him undue stress and grave mental anguish. Plaintiff
further alleges that, had it not been for unconstitutional
congressional enactments, he would have enjoyed
constitutionally sound legislation.
seeks money damages for alleged violations of the Due Process
and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fifth Amendment to the
United States Constitution, the Necessary and Proper Clause
of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18 of the United States
Constitution, and the Separation-of-Powers Doctrine. He also
seeks a declaratory judgment stating that the defendants have
violated his rights under the Fifth Amendment, the
defendants' conduct is arbitrary, capricious, unlawful,
and unconstitutional, and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines
Manual is arbitrary, capricious, unlawful, and
unconstitutional. Finally, he seeks an injunction that
enjoins the defendants from enforcing their views and
practices in an unconstitutional or unlawful manner.
Court has granted plaintiff permission to file his complaint
without prepaying the fees and costs for this action.
See ECF No. 3. Under the Prison Litigation Reform
Act of 1996, federal district courts must screen an indigent
prisoner's complaint and dismiss “any prisoner
action brought under federal law if the complaint is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim for which relief
can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant
immune from such relief.” Flanory v. Bonn, 604
F.3d 249, 252 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and 1915A and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e). A complaint
is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
“A complaint is subject to dismissal for failure to
state a claim if the allegations, taken as true, show the
plaintiff is not entitled to relief.” Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007). While a complaint
“does not need detailed factual allegations, ”
the “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption
that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if
doubtful in fact).” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (footnote and
citations omitted). In other words, “a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
‘to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.' ” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
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.”
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). To
prevail on a Bivens claim, a plaintiff must prove
two elements: “(1) that he or she was deprived of a
right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States; and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person
acting under color of law.” Robertson v.
Lucas, 753 F.3d 606, 614 (6th Cir. 2014).
complaint is frivolous and fails to state a claim for several
reasons. First, “[a]bsent a waiver, sovereign immunity
shields the Federal Government and its agencies from
suit.” Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. v.
Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994). “Sovereign
immunity is jurisdictional in nature.” Id.
Furthermore, “[t]he United States has not consented to
be sued for damages based on constitutional violations,
” Rivera v. Saris, 130 F.Supp.3d 397, 401
(D.D.C. 2015) (quotation marks and citations omitted),
affirmed sub nom. Rivera v. Carr, 672 F. App'x
14 (D.C. Cir. 2016), and “[a] Bivens action
may be brought only against individual federal officials, not
against the United States, ” Shaner v. United
States, 976 F.2d 990, 994 (6th Cir. 1992); see also
Meyer, 510 U.S. at 485 (noting that the Supreme Court
“implied a cause of action against federal officials in
Bivens in part because a direct action against the
Government was not available”) (emphasis omitted).
to the extent plaintiff is blaming Congress for promulgating
the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, his allegations are
frivolous, because the United States Sentencing Commission,
not Congress, is charged with establishing federal sentencing
guidelines. Beckles v. United States, 137 S.Ct. 886,
893 (2017). And the Commission is “an independent
commission in the judicial branch of the United States,
” Mistretta v. United States, 488 U.S. 361,
368 (1989) (quoting 28 U.S.C. § 991(a)), not the
plaintiff's allegations are vague and conclusory. He has
not alleged how the defendants violated the provisions of
federal law that he cites, and in a civil rights action,
conclusory allegations of unconstitutional conduct, without
specific facts to support the allegations, fail to state a
claim. Lillard v. Shelby Cty. Bd. of Educ., 76 F.3d
716, 726 (6th Cir. 1996). “Some factual basis for such
claims must be set forth in the pleadings.” Chapman
v. City of Detroit, 808 F.2d 459, 465 (6th Cir. 1986).
the alleged injuries are not a sufficient deprivation of
federal rights to warrant relief. Having to conduct his own
legal research is not a compensable injury because plaintiff
has not demonstrated that he was denied his constitutional
right of access to the courts, as set forth in Bounds v.
Smith, 430 U.S. 817 (1977). “Bounds did
not create an abstract, freestanding right to . . . legal
assistance.” Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351
plaintiff's “mental anguish, ” “[n]o
Federal civil action may be brought by a prisoner . . . for
mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody without
a prior showing of physical injury or the commission of a
sexual act . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e). Because
plaintiff has not shown that he suffered from a physical