United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. JONKER CHIEF 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 against Defendants MDOC and MDOC
Health Care on grounds of immunity. The Court will serve the
complaint against Defendant Kent County.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Michigan Reformatory (RMI) in
Ionia, Michigan. The circumstances that give rise to the
complaint, however, began after his arrest on September 6,
2014, when he was detained in the Kent County Jail.
alleges that immediately prior to his arrest he was
assaulted. As he tried to defend himself, he injured his
right shoulder and upper back and broke his right hand.
(Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4.) Plaintiff states “the
Kent County Jail never gave me any medical treatment for my
injuries.” (Id.) Plaintiff claims that because
of the lack of treatment his right hand did not heal
correctly and his back and shoulder injuries are irreparable.
December of 2014, following his guilty plea to a charge of
assault with intent to commit murder, Mich. Comp. Laws §
750.83, Petitioner was in the custody of the Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC). Plaintiff alleges that
doctors at the MDOC's Duane Waters Hospital in Jackson,
Michigan, told him that the only way to fix his hand would be
to re-break it. Plaintiff notes that he agreed to that
treatment, but that it never healed back correctly. (Compl.,
ECF No. 1, PageID.5.) Plaintiff notes that he also received
injections in his shoulder for pain. (Id.)
Nonetheless, he states that his hand, shoulder, and back
always hurt. Plaintiff contends that the MDOC will not give
him adequate medical treatment, but he does not indicate in
what way his treatment falls short. It appears that Plaintiff
characterizes the treatment as inadequate simply because it
has not been successful.
states that the Kent County Jail and the MDOC were
deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical
needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He identifies the
Defendants as “Health Care (MDOC)” (Id.,
PageID.1), the “Kent County Correctional
Facility” (Id., PageID.2), “Any/All
Unnamed Defendants” (Id.), and “Any/All
Unknown Defendants” (Id.). Plaintiff does not
ascribe any action or misconduct to unnamed or unknown
defendants in the body of his complaint.
asks for an award of compensatory and punitive damages as
well as an order compelling Defendants to provide him with
adequate medical care.
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).
MDOC or Health Care (MDOC)
may not maintain a § 1983 action against the Michigan
Department of Corrections or one of its divisions. Regardless
of the form of relief requested, the states and their
departments are immune under the Eleventh Amendment from suit
in the federal courts, unless the state has waived immunity
or Congress has expressly abrogated Eleventh Amendment
immunity by statute. See Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp.
v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 98-101 (1984); Alabama v.
Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978); O'Hara v.
Wigginton, 24 F.3d 823, 826 (6th Cir. 1993). Congress
has not expressly abrogated Eleventh Amendment immunity by
statute, Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 341 (1979),
and the State of Michigan has not consented to civil rights
suits in federal court. Abick v. Michigan, 803 F.2d
874, 877 (6th Cir. 1986). In numerous unpublished opinions,
the Sixth Circuit has specifically held that the MDOC is
absolutely immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment.
See, e.g., McCoy v. Michigan, 369 F. App'x 646,
653-54 (6th Cir. 2010); Turnboe v. Stegall, No.
00-1182, 2000 WL1679478, at *2 (6th Cir. Nov. 1, 2000). In
addition, the State of Michigan (acting through the Michigan
Department of Corrections) is not a ...