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Souders v. Washington

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

February 27, 2018

HEIDI WASHINGTON et al., Defendants.


          Paul L. Maloney 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 Lakeland Correctional Facility (LCF) in Coldwater, Michigan. The events about which he complains occurred at that facility, the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility (LRF) in Muskegon, Michigan, and, arguably, every facility in which he has been incarcerated, because he contends he is being held pursuant to an invalid judgment. Plaintiff claims that Defendants are violating Plaintiff's constitutional rights by continuing to detain him pursuant to an invalid judgment.

         Plaintiff sues MDOC Director Heidi Washington, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, Assistant Attorney General H. Steven Langschwager, LRF Warden Shirlee Harry, LRF Deputy Warden Unknown Kowalski, LRF Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor Thomas Irby, LRF Grievance Coordinator T. Pipkins, LRF Corrections Officer Matthew Farber, LRF Sergeant Unknown VanderWagen, LRF Lieutenant Unknown Johnson, LCF Warden B. Hoffner, LCF Deputy Warden Bryan Morrison, LCF Prison Counselor Unknown Garrett, MDOC Records Administrator Diana Judge, MDOC Time Computation Unit Manager Cynthia Partridge, and MDOC Records Department Analysts Judy Bishop and Jill Krieghoff.

         Plaintiff has sought relief for the allegedly unconstitutional detention from several sources. He filed a state habeas corpus petition in the Muskegon County Circuit Court. That court denied him relief by order entered December 12, 2016, informing Plaintiff that only the sentencing court could fix the error of which he complains. (Muskegon Cnty. Cir. Ct. Order, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.11.) Plaintiff also filed several administrative grievances with the MDOC to no avail. Plaintiff has sought reconsideration of the denial of his habeas petition in this court. (Souders v. McQuiggin, No. 2:10-cv-106 (W.D. Mich.), ECF No. 57.) Plaintiff also sought the assistance of the Corrections Ombudsman. He was interviewed on October 24, 2017, by Mr. Griffin Dean of that office. That interview has yet to result in any relief; however, Plaintiff claims it has prompted retaliation, on October 28 and 30, 2017, in the form of verbal harassment and sexual assault.

         Plaintiff's allegations regarding the retaliatory conduct are sparse in the complaint; however, he does attach and reference a state court filing that includes more detail:

a) On 10/28/2017, Mr. Souders was informed by CPC Fuller that he would be rode-out as a result of his meeting with the Ombudsman. CPC Fuller knew this as she is good friends with the warden;
b) On 10/30/2017, Mr. Souders was sexually assaulted by Officer Matthew Farber; see cameras LRF 2300 and LRF 2401 @ approximately 1835 hours;
c)Mr. Souders went to his unit and had Ofcr. Mendoza call Lt. Johnson immediately after this assault and was further retaliated against with having his cell shaken down;
d) On 11/16/2017, Mr. Souders authored an email in the attempts to notify the state police of the above sexual assault. The email was censored by Inspector Plikta. (email attached as Exhibit 1). Inspector Plikta informed the officers contained in the email of the complaint.
e) On 11/16/2017, Ofcrs. Farber and Wharton conspired to have Ofcr. Carr shake me down purely for harassment purposes; see camera LRF 2300 @ approx. 1548 and speak to Ofcr. Overkamp;
f) Later that evening, Ofcr. Farber called me a “faggot” for making complaints; see cameras LRF 1200, 1303, and 2401, Sgt VanderWagen and Ofcrs. Wharton and Prince were witnesses. I immediately relayed this info to Ofcr. Shyne;
g) On 11/17/2017, at approx. 1430 hrs. Ofcr. Wharton targeted me in a group and shook me down purely for harassment; see cameras LRF 2300 and 1200;
h) On 11/17/2017, at approx. 1822 hrs., Ofcr. Nuttall stopped me outside of the chowhall for a shakedown and stated “this isn't going to end well for you”; see cameras LRF 2300 and 1200;
i) On 11/21/2017, Mr. Souders was transferred to Lakeland Correctional Facility. Mr. Souders was not afforded the opportunity to pack his property and was without his property until 11/29/2017. At which time Mr. Souders noticed a ...

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