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Price v. Mackie

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

February 7, 2018

LAWRENCE PRICE #166173 and DAVID K. LAMB #188625, Plaintiffs,
THOMAS MACKIE et al., Defendants.


          Honorable Paul L. Maloney, Judge

         This is a civil rights action brought by two state prisoners 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 Plaintiffs' pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiffs' 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 Plaintiffs' complaint on grounds of immunity and for failure to state a claim.


         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiffs are presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Muskegon Correctional Facility (MCF) in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan. The events about which they complain, however, occurred at the Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF) in Manistee, Michigan. Plaintiffs sue ECF Warden Thomas Mackie; ECF Lieutenant Unknown O'Brian; ECF Sergeant Unknown Baker; ECF Corrections Officers Unknown Benson, Unknown Lee, William Cross, Unknown Daron[1], and Unknown Gaudia; and the MDOC.

         Although the events of which Plaintiff Price and Plaintiff Lamb complain occurred at different times and involved different Defendants, Plaintiffs have joined them together in this complaint because, Plaintiffs contend, their claims reflect the same pattern of misconduct.

         On March 13, 2016, Plaintiff Price sent Warden Mackie a letter informing him that Mackie's ECF Corrections Officers had developed an unwritten policy and practice of “treating up” cells; placing inmates in segregation who did not eat fast enough in the chow hall, voiced complaints, or wrote grievances; and taking or destroying the property of persons placed in segregation. Despite his complaint, at 9:00 a.m. that very morning, Defendant Mackie's officers placed eight inmates, including Plaintiff Lamb, in segregation without a misconduct report, notice, or hearing. Then, Defendant Mackie's officers took all the store items of the inmates they had placed in segregation.

         On May 5, 2016, Plaintiff Price's identification card was taken by Defendant Benson. When Plaintiff Price attempted to obtain a new identification card, he was told he would have to turn in the old card. Plaintiff Price informed Defendant Benson that he needed the old card. Defendant Benson fished it out of the trash. Plaintiff Price refused to take it because it had been in the trash. Defendant Benson ordered Plaintiff Price to take it. Plaintiff Price refused. Defendant Benson referred to Plaintiff Price using a racial slur. Defendant Benson's partner, Defendant Lee, handcuffed Plaintiff Price and threatened to knock Plaintiff Price down. Defendant Benson threatened to use her taser on Plaintiff Price. Plaintiff Price was taken to segregations, placed in a locked shower cage, and strip searched.

         Plaintiff Price claims that the actions of Benson and Lee were intended to humiliate, degrade, and cause mental and emotional distress. Plaintiff Price claims that the actions of Benson and Lee violated MDOC policy. Plaintiff claims Defendants Benson and Lee placed Plaintiff Price in segregation in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment right to voice a complaint.

         Defendants Benson and Lee packed up Plaintiff Price's property. All of Plaintiff Price's store items were missing from his packed-up property.

         After being released from segregation, Plaintiff Price wrote Defendant Mackie another complaint regarding Defendant Mackie's officers and their practice of taking property in violation of MDOC policy.

         On March 14, 2016[2], at 9:00 a.m., Defendants Cross, Gaudia, and Daron handcuffed Plaintiff Lamb while he was in his cell and then took him to segregation. He was released a half-hour later. When he returned to his unit, Defendants Gaudia and Daron handcuffed Plaintiff Lamb again and returned him to segregation. Both times, Plaintiff Lamb was strip-searched.

         Once Plaintiff Lamb was placed in segregation, he was interrogated by Defendants Baker and O'Brian. They informed Plaintiff Lamb that Defendant Cross had “identified” Plaintiff Lamb, presumably as a wrongdoer of some sort. The incident did not result in a misconduct report, a notice of intent, or any administrative hearing.

         While Plaintiff Lamb was in segregation, Defendant Cross and Daron packed up his property. All of Plaintiff Lamb's store items, his headphones, and his legal footlocker tray went missing. Plaintiff Lamb contends that Defendants Cross and Daron failed to comply with rules and policies when they packed up his belongings.

         Plaintiff Lamb alleges that Defendants Cross and Daron damaged Plaintiff's legal foot locker. As a result, when Plaintiff Lamb was transferred to MCF, all of his legal materials were lost. Plaintiff Lamb claims he has no clue what materials were filed in his pending criminal and civil litigations.

         Plaintiffs claim that the individual Defendants' failures to adhere to policy directives, operating procedures, and administrative rules amount to nonfeasance, malfeasance, and gross negligence. Plaintiffs claim also that Defendant Mackie's failure to act, train his employees, and discipline them amounts to nonfeasance, malfeasance, and gross negligence. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants' conduct violates the constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. Plaintiffs also argue that Defendants' gross negligence is equivalent to deliberate indifference and, thus, violates Plaintiffs' Eighth Amendment rights. Plaintiff Price's claim that the Defendants acted in retaliation for Plaintiff's complaints to the warden implicates protections under the First Amendment. Plaintiff Lamb's claim that Defendants' destruction of his legal footlocker or taking of his legal papers has ...

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