United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
Honorable Paul L. Maloney, 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 presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Newberry Correctional Facility
(NCF) in Newberry, Luce County, Michigan. The events about
which he complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues
Corrections Officer T. Brooks, Sergeant P. Mersnick,
Lieutenant D. Moore, Lieutenant Unknown Whalen, and Warden
alleges that on November 6, 2016, he had an altercation with
Defendant Brooks. Plaintiff subsequently filed a grievance on
Defendant Brooks. Defendant Whalen responded to the
grievance, but failed to take any corrective action. On
January 27, 2017, Defendant Brooks took a pair of headphones
out of Plaintiff's cell and attempted to take
Plaintiff's television, which was locked down with a
padlock. This was observed by Plaintiff's cell mates.
Plaintiff told Defendant Brooks that he was going to write a
grievance on him because of his retaliatory conduct in taking
the headphones. Defendant Brooks responded that he would
write a misconduct on Plaintiff regarding the headphones.
Plaintiff requested a grievance form and discussed the
situation with Defendant Whalen, who failed to take any
corrective action. Plaintiff subsequently filed a grievance.
January 28, 2017, Plaintiff was reviewed on the misconduct
and pleaded not guilty. On January 29, 2017, Defendant Brooks
ordered Plaintiff to turn out his pockets. After Plaintiff
complied and moved down the hallway, he overheard Defendant
Brooks tell another corrections officer that he was giving
Plaintiff a hard time because of the grievance Plaintiff had
written. Plaintiff filed a grievance.
claims that Defendant Moore responded to the January 27,
2017, grievance by denying it and stating that even when
officers are wrong, they are right. Defendant Mersnick denied
Plaintiff's January 29, 2017, grievance. During
Plaintiff's hearing on February 14, 2017, Defendant
Whalen refused to check with the business office to see if
there was a record of Plaintiff's purchase of the
headphones. Plaintiff was found guilty of a class III
claims that Defendants violated his rights under the First
and Eighth Amendments. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and
punitive damages, as well as declaratory and injunctive
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 Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth
Amendment. The Eighth Amendment imposes a constitutional
limitation on the power of the states to punish those
convicted of crimes. Punishment may not be
“barbarous” nor may it contravene society's
“evolving standards of decency.” Rhodes v.
Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 345-46 (1981). The Amendment,
therefore, prohibits conduct by prison officials that
involves the “unnecessary and wanton infliction of
pain.” Ivey v. Wilson, 832 F.2d 950, 954 (6th
Cir. 1987) (per curiam) (quoting Rhodes, 452 U.S. at
346). The deprivation alleged must result in the denial of
the “minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities.” Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 347; see
also Wilson v. Yaklich, 148 F.3d 596, 600-01 (6th Cir.
1998). The Eighth Amendment is only concerned with
“deprivations of essential food, medical care, or
sanitation” or “other conditions intolerable for
prison confinement.” Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 348
(citation omitted). Moreover, “[n]ot every unpleasant
experience a prisoner might endure while incarcerated
constitutes cruel and unusual punishment within the meaning
of the Eighth Amendment.” Ivey, 832 F.2d at
order for a prisoner to prevail on an Eighth Amendment claim,
he must show that he faced a sufficiently serious risk to his
health or safety and that the defendant official acted with
“‘deliberate indifference' to [his] health or
safety.” Mingus v. Butler, 591 F.3d 474,
479-80 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994) (applying deliberate indifference
standard to medical claims); see also Helling v.
McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 35 (1993) (applying deliberate