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Parker v. Reddin

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

December 7, 2017

BRUCE PARKER, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN REDDIN et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          ROBERT J. JONKER, CHIEF 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 Washington and Andersen. The Court also will dismiss Plaintiff's claims on behalf of other inmates and his request for class certification. The Court will serve the complaint against Defendants Reddin, Klatt, Stevenson, and Stephan.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Carson City Correctional Facility (DRF) in Carson City, Montcalm County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues MDOC Director Heidi Washington and the following DRF officials: Correctional Officers (unknown) Reddin, (unknown) Stephenson, and (unknown) Stephan; Prison Counselor (unknown) Klatt; and Resident Unit Manager (unknown) Andersen.

         Plaintiff purports to bring his complaint on behalf of all similarly situated African-American prisoners in the MDOC, contending that the MDOC has a discriminatory practice and custom of mandating harsher penalties when African-American prisoners are found guilty of prison infractions. In addition, Plaintiff claims that African-Americans are subject to discrimination and are recipients of a disproportionate number of false and retaliatory misconduct charges. As a result, he asserts, African-American prisoners are subjected to substandard living conditions.

         Plaintiff specifically alleges that, on July 16, 2017, Correctional Officer Kalnins (not a Defendant) searched Plaintiff's cell. During the search, Kalnins opened every pack of Plaintiff's potato chips and toothpaste. Plaintiff filed a grievance against Kalnins that same day.

         On July 18, 2017, while Plaintiff was walking to the prison big yard, he and another prisoner were stopped at the yard shack for a search. Defendant Reddin came out of the shack and told Plaintiff, “I heard you like filing grievances. [I]f I were you Parker I would stop before you['re] loaded with tickets.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.6.) When Plaintiff asked what Reddin meant, Reddin responded

When I searched you at lunch today and you didn't have your [ID] I went to your housing unit to verify who you were and this is when I was told by your unit officers[] Miller and Hopkins that you like filing grievances and had written a bullsh*t grievance on Kalnins.

(Id.) Plaintiff responded that he had the right to file grievances, but Reddin told Plaintiff that he had no rights as a convict. Later that day, Reddin filed an allegedly false and retaliatory misconduct ticket against Plaintiff for being out of place. Plaintiff complains that he had a valid, handwritten pass permitting him to be out of the unit, which was supposed to be valid until Plaintiff had been issued a replacement identification card.

         After the encounter with Reddin, Plaintiff went into Defendant Klatt's office for classification to a prison job. Defendant Klatt asked Plaintiff why he had filed a grievance against Officer Kalnins. Plaintiff told Klatt that Kalnins had opened all of his potato chips and toothpaste. Klatt responded, “He can do that.” (Id.) Klatt continued, “Parker you have a chip on your shoulder and if you don't w[a]nt your cell tor[n] up everyday I would lay back.” (Id.) Plaintiff complained that he had a constitutional right to file grievances. Klatt told Plaintiff to leave the office. Plaintiff filed a grievance against Klatt for threats and retaliation.

         On July 26, 2017, Plaintiff decided to speak with Deputy Warden Fenby about Defendant Klatt's conduct. Fenby spoke with Klatt shortly after speaking with Plaintiff. Later that evening, Fenby moved Plaintiff from his quiet cell to an extremely loud and obnoxious cube, where Plaintiff could not sleep or concentrate on his legal work. An unnamed witness overheard Defendant Klatt say, “Let[']s see how much work Parker gets done without sleep.” (Id., PageID.7.) Plaintiff filed another grievance against Klatt, alleging retaliation.

         On July 31, Plaintiff was found guilty of the Class II misconduct written by Reddin for allegedly being out of place. Plaintiff appealed the guilty finding. On September 1, 2017, the finding was overturned on the grounds that a hearing had not been held within seven days.

         While Plaintiff was reading the bulletin board outside Klatt's office on August 17, 2017, he overheard Klatt say to Officer Bosley that “that f***er Parker was going to be in segregation as soon as he [defendant Klatt] moved plaintiff to C-Unit later that day.” (Id., PageID.8.) Plaintiff went to Klatt's door to ask why Klatt was constantly harassing and threatening to send Plaintiff to C-Unit. Klatt responded, “It's no threat[, ] you['re] moving and I've informed C/O's Stevenson and Neve to give you a proper invite.” (Id.) ...


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