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Diabo v. Unknown Parties #1

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

November 3, 2017

UNKNOWN PARTIES #1 et al., Defendants.



         This is 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 for failure to state a claim.


         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility (IBC) in Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan. The events about which he complains, however, occurred at the Alger Correctional Facility (LMF) in Munising, Alger County, Michigan, and at the Marquette Branch Prison (MBP) in Marquette, Marquette County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues Unknown Parties #1 “Seven Unknown Treatment Team, ” Unknown Party #1 “Deputy Warden for Security, ” Unknown Party #2 “Medical Administrator, ” Warden Robert Napel, Unknown Party #3 “Deputy Warden for Administrator, ” Kathleen A. Mutscher, PH.D. “Director of Mental Health Services, ” and Unknown Parties #2 “Trustees for Michigan Master Health Plan.”

         In his amended complaint (ECF No. 8), Plaintiff alleges that he arrived at LMF in the beginning of 2014, and refused to go to the general population. Therefore, Plaintiff was placed in segregation. A few days later, Plaintiff was shown a ticket which falsely asserted that a weapon had been found in his property. A prison counselor interviewed Plaintiff on two occasions. After being interviewed the second time, Plaintiff was taken to a building for a video conference with an unknown woman. The woman asked Plaintiff how he was doing, as well as other questions. After the conference, the woman told officers not to rough Plaintiff up. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff was transferred to MBP.

         When Plaintiff arrived at MBP, an unknown official took Plaintiff to a conference room and asked Plaintiff if he was going to be a problem. Plaintiff said that he was not. A half dozen officers then grabbed him and escorted him to Query Unit. Officials placed Plaintiff in a cell and told him to strip naked. Plaintiff was then given a “Bam-Bam” (suicide) gown. Plaintiff met with a psychologist twice in the following days. At some point, Plaintiff was drawing a picture out of the Parkinson's law book when the “psyche” walked past Plaintiff's cell. The “psyche” saw the stick figures that Plaintiff was drawing and asked if he could make a copy. Plaintiff refused. During the hearing on Plaintiff's involuntary treatment, the “psyche” presented a drawing which he claimed was based on Plaintiff's drawing. When asked, Plaintiff admitted that he had drawn the picture, but Plaintiff was not allowed to explain why he had drawn it or what it represented. Based on the evidence presented at the hearing, Plaintiff was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder and it was determined that Plaintiff should be involuntarily medicated. Plaintiff appealed the determination, but his appeal was denied. Plaintiff was placed in segregation and was not allowed to go to the law library. Plaintiff claims that he was never told that he could appeal again.

         Plaintiff claims Defendants' conduct violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as under state law. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief.

         II. Failure to state a claim

         A 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)).

         To 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).

         Initially, the Court notes that Plaintiff fails to make specific factual allegations against Defendants in this case. Plaintiff's allegations merely recite what happened to him at LMF and MBP, without any reference to the identity of the specific individuals involved in his treatment. 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 were involved in any of the misconduct asserted in his amended complaint. Accordingly, he fails to state a claim against them.

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments when they diagnosed him with a psychotic disorder and had him placed on anti-psychotic drugs. In Vitek v. Jones, 445 U.S. 480, 493 (1980), the United States Supreme Court held that a criminal conviction does not authorize the state to classify a prisoner as mentally ill and to subject him to involuntary psychiatric treatment without affording him additional due process protections. The Vitek Court noted that the state had a strong interest in segregating and treating mentally ill patients, but that a prisoner's interest in not being arbitrarily classified as mentally ill and subjected to involuntary treatment was also strong. The Court concluded that the state must apply “appropriate procedural safeguards against error.” Id. at 495.

         In a subsequent case, the Supreme Court addressed the involuntary medication of a ...

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