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White v. McKay

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

February 2, 2018

UNKNOWN MCKAY et al., Defendants.


          Gordon J. Quist 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.


         I. Factual allegations

Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. The events about which he complains occurred at that facility and the Kinross Correctional Facility (KCF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County. Plaintiff sues Sergeant Unknown McKay, Prison Guard Unknown Goodell, Hearing Officer Unknown Theut, Inspector Unknown Huhtala, Grievance Coordinator Unknown Anderson, Prison Guard Unknown Klingshim, Sergeant Unknown Johnson, Administrative Assistant D. Mastaw, Assistant Deputy Warden B. Bigger, Deputy Warden J. Harwood, and Misconduct Hearing Officer Unknown O'Brien.

         Plaintiff alleges that on May 31, 2014, Defendant Goodell wrote Plaintiff a misconduct for being “out of place” after Plaintiff used the restroom before count cleared. Later that evening, Defendant Goodell instructed Plaintiff to go to see Defendant McKay for a ticket review. Plaintiff replied that, pursuant to MDOC policy, he was not required to attend a ticket review. Plaintiff then stated that he planned on filing a grievance on Defendant Goodell for violating policy. Defendant Goodell responded to Plaintiff by stating, “You're threatening me with a grievance. Pack you[r] property because you're going to the hole. You don't threaten me with a grievance.”

         Defendant Goodell subsequently wrote a misconduct ticket on Plaintiff for disobeying a direct order, as follows:


See ECF No. 1-6, PageID.22. Defendant McKay revoked Plaintiff's bond and raised the misconduct to a class I violation, stating that Plaintiff was unmanageable in the general population. Id. Plaintiff was then placed in segregation. While Plaintiff was in segregation, Defendant Goodell destroyed Plaintiff's legal supplies, typing paper, envelopes, and other items.

         Defendant Theut found Plaintiff guilty of the misconduct written by Defendant Goodell on June 3, 2014. The evidence considered in the hearing included Plaintiff's statement that he did not want to participate in the ticket review and that he refused a request to attend the review, and then a direct order. See ECF No. 1-8, PageID.25. Defendant Theut gave the reasons for finding as:

Prisoner White was given a direct and reasonable order on 5-31-14 at 2030 hrs by the reporting officer to go to the [Sergeant's] Office. Prisoner White heard and understood the order because he looked directly at the reporting officer and kept walking away. Prisoner White voluntarily failed to follow the order and did not go to the [Sergeant's] office. Prisoner White admits that he was given the order and did not go and it is no defense to the charge that he did not want to go. Pursuant to the hearings handbook the order is not unreasonable because pursuant to the hearings handbook compliance with the order would not create a risk [of] serious injury to the prisoner's physical wellbeing, he is physically able to comply and the order did not interfere with a previous order given to the prisoner. The reporting staff member is clear and detailed in his statements and found credible. The charge is upheld.


         On December 9, 2016, Defendant Huhtala approached Plaintiff while he was working in food service and ordered him to come speak with him in “the back, ” away from other staff and prisoners. Plaintiff protested by stating that there was nothing that could not be discussed in the presence of his supervisor. Plaintiff claims that this conduct was designed to make it look as if he was a prison informant, which placed his life in danger. Plaintiff states that Defendant Huhtala became angry and retaliated against Plaintiff by laying him in and sending him back to his unit. Plaintiff wrote a grievance on Defendant Huhtala.

         On December 12, 2016, Defendant Anderson called Plaintiff to his office and stated that he was going to reject Plaintiff's grievance because Defendant Huhtala was going to write a misconduct on Plaintiff, so Plaintiff could raise his issue through the misconduct appeal process. Plaintiff objected that this rejection was not proper and told Defendant Anderson that he would be writing a grievance on him. Also on December 12, 2016, Defendant Klingshim told Plaintiff that “the Inspector” wanted to see him. Plaintiff replied that he had already told the inspector that he did not want to speak to him. Defendant Klingshim then spoke with Defendant Huhtala on the phone, stating “No, I didn't give him a direct order.” Defendant Klingshim subsequently told Plaintiff that Defendant Huhtala was forcing him to write a misconduct on Plaintiff for disobeying a direct order and that Plaintiff was going to segregation. While Plaintiff was changing into a segregation jumpsuit, Defendant Huhtala came to his cell door and stated, “Oh you don't want to lock at KCF huh?” Plaintiff accused Defendant Huhtala of retaliating against him for refusing to answer questions and writing a grievance. Defendant Huhtala replied, “Oh, we got a lot to talk about.” Defendant Johnson escorted Plaintiff to segregation. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Goodell destroyed Plaintiff's personal and legal property on December 12, 2016, while Plaintiff was being escorted to segregation. After Plaintiff refused to answer Defendant Huhtala's questions for a third time, Defendant Johnson reviewed the class II misconduct ticket with Plaintiff that had been written by Defendant Klingshim for disobeying a direct order. During the review, Defendant Johnson elevated the misconduct to a class I violation, stating that Plaintiff was unmanageable. See ECF No. 1-13, PageID.44. When Plaintiff questioned Defendant Johnson's authority to elevate the misconduct, an unknown health care officer also asked Defendant Johnson about his authority to elevate the ticket. Defendant Johnson merely stated that he had the authority to elevate the ticket.

         On December 19, 2016, Defendant O'Brien conducted a hearing on the misconduct ticket. During the hearing, Defendant O'Brien noted that the order would only be considered unreasonable if compliance would create a significant risk of serious harm to the prisoner's physical wellbeing. Plaintiff states that Defendants Mastaw, Bigger, and Harwood subsequently had Plaintiff transferred to URF because Plaintiff was refusing to lock at KCF. On January 3, 2017, Plaintiff asked the housing unit counselor at URF why he was transferred from KCF. She responded, “the lie was placed on the computer to cover their asses.” On January 9, 2017, URF Security Classification Committee members stated that KCF had fabricated the records when they asserted that Plaintiff was refusing to reside at KCF.

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants' conduct was motivated by a desire to retaliate against him. Plaintiff also claims that Defendants engaged in a conspiracy, and that they violated his rights under ...

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