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Jackson v. Feliciano

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

November 28, 2017

DOUGLAS CORNELL JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
JODI FELICIANO et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          GORDON J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim against Defendants Caron, Huss, and Napel. The Court will serve the complaint against Defendants Feliciano and Pokley.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Baraga Correctional Facility (AMF) in Baraga, Baraga County, Michigan. The events about which he complains, however, occurred at the Marquette Branch Prison (MBP) in Marquette, Marquette County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues Law Librarian Jodi Feliciano, Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor Mark Pokley, Grievance Coordinator Glenn Caron, Deputy Warden Erica Huss, and Warden Robert Napel.

         Plaintiff alleges that he began asking Defendant Feliciano to schedule him for law library time on January 25, 2017. Plaintiff was scheduled for law library on January 31, 2017, at which time he requested the assistance of a legal writer. Plaintiff explained to Defendant Feliciano that he had been receiving legal writer assistance at the Baraga Correctional Facility (AMF). Defendant Feliciano told Plaintiff that AMF Law Librarian Bouchard and Peterson Paletta PLC told her to refuse his legal writer request, and that Bouchard failed to forward Plaintiff's zip file or legal writer files. Plaintiff states that he previously named Bouchard as a defendant in Case No. 2:16-cv-246 and that Peterson Paletta PLC are private attorneys under contract with the MDOC. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Feliciano refused to provide Plaintiff legal writer assistance for the preparation and filing of an application for leave to appeal the United States District Court's order dated January 20, 2017. In addition, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Feliciano denied Plaintiff a copy of his civil rights complaint for case No. 2:16-cv-246, and denied him assistance with the preparation of an appeal of right from the dismissal of that action.

         On February 8, 2017, Plaintiff, who was on modified access to the grievance procedure, requested a step I grievance form so that he could file a grievance on Defendant Feliciano. Plaintiff filed a grievance on February 15, 2017. On February 21, 2017, Plaintiff met with a legal writer, but no pleading was prepared. On March 1, 2017, Plaintiff informed Defendant Napel that Defendant Feliciano was not scheduling him for law library at a time when she was available to help obtain notarized documents and copies.

         On March 7, 2017, Defendant Feliciano scheduled Plaintiff to meet with a legal writer. Plaintiff was provided with an erroneous, untimely application for leave to appeal the Wayne County Circuit Court's January 11, 2017, order denying Plaintiff's petition for judicial review of the MDOC Hearing Administrator's denial of rehearing. On March 8, 2017, Plaintiff was scheduled for law library, but no librarian was present. On March 9, 2017, Plaintiff told Defendant Feliciano that he had received his request for rehearing response and that he wished to file a request for judicial review in the Marquette County Circuit Court. On March 31, 2017, Defendant Feliciano sent Plaintiff a “claim of appeal for judicial review, ” containing substantial errors. On April 4, 2017, Plaintiff returned the document to Defendant Feliciano. On April 7, 2017, Defendant Feliciano returned the same erroneous document to Plaintiff, which prevented Plaintiff from filing a timely appeal. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Feliciano provided Plaintiff with untimely appeal documents in Case No. 2:16-cv-246.

         Plaintiff asked to meet with a legal writer on April 5, 2017. Plaintiff told Defendant Feliciano that he was going to file a civil rights complaint against her for intentionally preventing him from filing his legal documents in the courts. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Feliciano needlessly sent the same document offsite to Peterson Paletta PLC for corrections, which caused an unnecessary delay. Plaintiff claims that this practice by Defendant Feliciano frequently results in documents taking months to prepare. On April 7, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for an injunction in this case, and Defendant Feliciano responded by putting a “hit” out on Plaintiff. On April 12, 2017, Plaintiff gave pages from a legal document to Defendant Pokley to be given to Defendant Feliciano for minor corrections. Plaintiff states that the pages have never been returned to him. Plaintiff was scheduled to meet with a legal writer that day, but was not allowed to attend. Plaintiff asked Defendant Feliciano to reschedule the meeting and filed a grievance. On April 17, Plaintiff asked Defendant Pokley about the pages Plaintiff had given Defendant Pokley, and Defendant Pokley stated, “How do you know you gave them to me?” Plaintiff insisted that he had placed the pages in Defendant Pokley's hand and Defendant Pokley stated, “If you're taking me to court, things have changed between you and I.” Plaintiff states that Defendant Pokley's actions prevented him from filing an application for leave to appeal the Wayne County Circuit Court's order in In Re Jackson, Case No. 332096.

         On April 18, 2017, Defendant Feliciano scheduled Plaintiff to meet with a legal writer. However, Defendant Feliciano then wrote a class I misconduct on Plaintiff for threatening behavior, which caused him to be placed in segregation and miss his meeting with a legal writer. On April 19, 2017, Plaintiff filed a grievance asserting that Defendant Feliciano had sent a prisoner “hitman” to Plaintiff's cell. On April 20, 2017, Plaintiff demanded another meeting with a legal writer. On April 21, 2017, Plaintiff requested books from the law library, which were not provided. On April 24, 2017, Plaintiff asked to be placed on call out for law library, but his request was not granted.

         Plaintiff alleges that he filed a grievance asserting that he had not been provided a form for filing a petition for judicial review in the Circuit Court. Plaintiff states that he was not provided with a step II appeal form for nearly one month.

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated the First Amendment by denying him access to the courts and by retaliating against him. Plaintiff further claims that supervisory defendants were deliberately indifferent to the misconduct of their subordinates and that he was discriminated against on the basis of his race in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. 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 - ...


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