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.
is a former prisoner who is no longer incarcerated. The
events about which he complains, however, occurred at the
Ojibway Correctional Facility (OCF) in Marenisco, Gogebic
County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues Greivance Coordinator Tom
Hamel, Captain Unknown Dums, Warden Kathy Olson, and Manager
Grievance Section Richard D. Russell.
alleges that he was denied the restoration of his forfeited
disciplinary credits in violation of MDOC Policy. Plaintiff
states that the named Defendants failed to properly respond
to his grievances on the matter. Plaintiff appears to be
claiming that Defendants' actions violated his due
process rights. Plaintiff seeks damages and equitable relief.
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).
claims that the refusal to restore his forfeited disciplinary
credits violated his due process rights. A prisoner's
ability to challenge a state action depends on whether the
action implicates any liberty interest. The Sixth Circuit has
examined Michigan statutory law, as it relates to the
creation and forfeiture of disciplinary credits for prisoners
convicted of crimes occurring after April 1, 1987. In
Thomas v. Eby, 481 F.3d 434 (6th Cir. 2007), the
court determined that loss of disciplinary credits does not
necessarily affect the duration of a prisoner's sentence.
Rather, it merely affects parole eligibility, which remains
discretionary with the parole board. Id. at 440.
Building on this ruling, in Nali v. Ekman, 355
Fed.Appx. 909 (6th Cir. 2009), the court held that a
misconduct citation in the Michigan prison system does not
affect a prisoner's constitutionally protected liberty
interests, because it does not necessarily affect the length
of confinement. 355 Fed.Appx. at 912; accord, Taylor v.
Lantagne, 418 Fed.Appx. 408, 412 (6th Cir. 2011);
Wilson v. Rapelje, No. 09-13030, 2010 WL 5491196, at
* 4 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 24, 2010) (Report & Recommendation)
(holding that “plaintiff's disciplinary hearing and
major misconduct sanction does not implicate the Fourteenth
Amendment Due Process Clause”), adopted as judgment
of court, 2011 WL 5491196 (Jan. 4, 2011). In the absence
of a demonstrated liberty interest, Plaintiff has no
due-process claim based on the loss of disciplinary credits.
See Bell v. Anderson, 301 Fed.Appx. 459, 461-62 (6th
Cir. 2008). Therefore, Plaintiff's complaint is properly
conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform
Act, the Court determines that Defendants will be dismissed
for failure to state a claim, under 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b), and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c).
Court must next decide whether an appeal of this action would
be in good faith within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3). See McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d
601, 611 (6th Cir. 1997). For the same reasons that the Court
dismisses the action, the Court discerns no good-faith basis
for an appeal. Should Plaintiff appeal this decision, the
Court will assess the $505.00 appellate filing fee pursuant
to § 1915(b)(1), see McGore, 114 F.3d at
610-11, unless Plaintiff is barred from proceeding in
forma pauperis, e.g., by ...