United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
DALE D. MOBLEY, Plaintiff,
STATE OF MICHIGAN, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT
M. LAWSON United States District Judge.
plaintiff, Dale D. Mobley, recently filed a pro se
complaint purporting to be a class action lawsuit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. When the plaintiff filed his complaint,
he was a state prisoner at the Gus Harrison Correctional
Facility in Adrian, Michigan, and he alleged that was being
unlawfully confined in prison. Since then, he has been
released on parole. However, the only defendant named in the
complaint is the State of Michigan, which is immune from suit
on all of the claims pleaded. The Court therefore will
dismiss the complaint.
plaintiff alleges that on February 28, 2017 the Michigan
Parole Board interviewed him and decided to release him on
parole. As of September 12, 2017, when the plaintiff drafted
his complaint, the Michigan Department of Corrections had not
released him on parole, and he was still confined in prison.
The plaintiff contends that the delayed release comprised
unlawful confinement and that the Department of Corrections
has no jurisdiction over him. However, information available
from the public records of the Michigan Department of
Corrections indicates the petitioner was released on parole
on November 1, 2017.
as here, a plaintiff has asked the Court to waive fees and
costs because he cannot afford to pay them, the Court has an
obligation to screen the case for merit and dismiss the case
if it “(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). A complaint is
frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact.
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989);
see also Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32
(1992). “A complaint lacks an arguable basis in law or
fact if it . . . is based on legal theories that are
indisputably meritless.” Brown v. Bargery, 207
F.3d 863, 866 (6th Cir.2000) (citing Neitzke, 490
U.S. at 327-28). In addition, Congress mandated in the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) that the Court screen for
colorable merit every prisoner complaint filed against a
state or governmental entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a)
(“The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible
or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a
complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress
from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a
a pro se litigant's complaint must be construed
liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007), “[t]he leniency granted to pro se [litigants] .
. . is not boundless.” Martin v. Overton, 391
F.3d 710, 714 (6th Cir. 2004). The screening mandated by
Congress in section 1915(e)(2) includes the obligation to
dismiss civil complaints filed by prospective pro se
filers if they “fail to state a claim on which relief
may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (ii);
McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th
Cir.1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007). To avoid dismissal, a
complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
Dismissal on the Court's initiative is appropriate if the
complaint lacks an arguable basis when filed. Goodell v.
Anthony, 157 F.Supp.2d 796, 799 (E.D. Mich. 2001).
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
set forth facts that, when construed favorably, establish (1)
the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or
laws of the United States (2) caused by a person acting under
the color of state law.” Dominguez v. Corr. Med.
Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Sigley v. City of Parma Heights, 437 F.3d 527, 533
(6th Cir. 2006)).
plaintiff's complaint fails to state a plausible claim
for relief because the sole defendant is the State of
Michigan, and “in the absence of consent[, ] a suit in
which the State or one of its agencies or departments is
named as the defendant is proscribed by the Eleventh
Amendment.” Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v.
Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984). “The state of
Michigan . . . has not consented to being sued in civil
rights actions in the federal courts, ” Johnson v.
Unknown Dellatifa, 357 F.3d 539, 545 (6th Cir. 2004),
and “Eleventh Amendment immunity ‘bars all suits,
whether for injunctive, declaratory or monetary relief,
against the state and its departments, by citizens of another
state, foreigners or its own citizens.'”
McCormick v. Miami Univ., 693 F.3d 654, 661 (6th
Cir. 2012) (quoting Thiokol Corp. v. Dep't of
Treasury, 987 F.2d 376, 381 (6th Cir. 1993)). In
addition, “[n]either a State nor its officials acting
in their official capacities are ‘persons' under
§ 1983.” Will v. Michigan Dep't of State
Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
because the only relief demanded in the complaint was release
on parole, the petitioner's complaint now is moot because
he was granted all of the relief that he sought when the
State released him after this lawsuit was filed. As the Sixth
Circuit noted in Demis v. Sniezek, 558 F.3d 508 (6th
Cir. 2009), federal courts “lack jurisdiction to
consider any case or issue that has ‘lost its character
as a present, live controversy' and thereby becomes moot,
” id. at 512 (quoting Hall v. Beals,
396 U.S. 45, 48 (1969)). “If ‘events occur during
the pendency of a litigation which render the court unable to
grant the requested relief, ' the case becomes moot and
thus falls outside [the Court's] jurisdiction.”
Ibid. (quoting Abela v. Martin, 309 F.3d
338, 343 (6th Cir. 2002)). The only basis for the claims
pleaded was the petitioner's allegedly unlawfully
confinement while awaiting release on parole; now that he has
been released, his case has lost its character as a live case
plaintiff's suit seeking to compel his release on parole
is moot, and the only defendant named in the pleadings is
immune from suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
it is ORDERED that the complaint is