United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
J. QUIST UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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 Defendant Olson. The Court will serve the complaint
against Defendants Yon and Vilgos.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Cooper Street Correctional Facility
(JCS) in Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan. The events about
which he complains, however, occurred at the Ojibway
Correctional Facility (OCF) in Marenisco, Gogebic County,
Michigan. Plaintiff sues Warden Kathleen Olson, Deputy Warden
Michael Yon, and Chaplain James Vilgos.
alleges that on July 1, 2016, Defendant Vilgos informed
Plaintiff that he would not be able to attend
“Eid-Al-Fitra, ” despite the fact that Plaintiff
had already submitted a written request. Plaintiff claims
that he is a member of the Nation of Islam and that the Eid
al-Fitr is a necessary part of the observance of Ramadan.
2, 2016, Defendant Vilgos met with prisoners who were members
of the Al-Islam religion during a study session. Plaintiff
attaches affidavits of prisoners who were present during the
session. These prisoners attest that when they attempted to
submit a list of those wanting to attend the Eid al-Fitr
prior to the date of the study session, they were told to
wait until further instruction before submitting the Eid
list. These prisoners attest that during the July 2, 2016,
study session, Defendant Vilgos told them that he had not yet
received any requests to attend the Eid al-Fitr. The
prisoners in attendance at the session reminded Defendant
Vilgos that he had previously told them to wait on submitting
the list until they were instructed to do so. One of the
prisoners then suggested that Defendant Vilgos include
everyone on the callout list for the Al Jumu'ah.
Defendant Vilgos stated that he would check with Defendant
Yon to see if he could compile the list in that way.
Defendant Vilgos commented that it was going to be a close
call because the Eid was scheduled for Tuesday, July 5, 2016.
On Monday, participants at the study session were notified
that they would be attending the Eid, as was the entire
Al-Islam community. See ECF No. 1-1, PageID.11-16.
Plaintiff and other members of the Nation of Islam were not
allowed to attend.
contends that this conduct violated his First Amendment right
to the free exercise of his religious beliefs. Plaintiff
seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Failure to state a claim
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)).
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).
fails to make specific factual allegations against Defendant
Warden Kathleen Olson. 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 Defendant
Warden Kathleen Olson engaged in any active unconstitutional
behavior. Accordingly, he fails to state a claim against her.
careful review of the complaint, the Court concludes that
Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Vilgos and Yon are
not clearly frivolous ...