United States District Court, W.D. Michigan
L. Maloney 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 Kalnins,
Kirkland, and Fenby for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional
Facility (LRF) in Muskegon Heights, Muskegon County,
Michigan. The events about which he complains, however,
occurred at the Carson City Correctional Facility (DRF) in
Carson City, Michigan. Plaintiff sues the following DRF
officials: Correctional Officer David Kalnins; Prison
Counselor Christopher M. Kirkland; and Deputy Warden David
alleges that DRF Deputy Wardens David Fenby and Michelle
Hill-Floyd issued a memorandum granting amnesty to DRF
prisoners who placed contraband or excess items into the bin
provided in the unit from 8:00 a.m. on April 20, 2017,
through April 27, 2017. Inmates were advised that they must
put the items into the designated bin in the unit. If they
did so, no questions would be asked and no misconduct charges
would be issued.
alleges that, on April 20, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., he attempted
to take advantage of the amnesty. Plaintiff does not allege
that he attempted to place his contraband into the bin.
Instead, Plaintiff alleges that he attempted to turn over his
contraband items to Defendant Kalnins under unspecified
circumstances. Kalnins issued Plaintiff a minor-misconduct
charge, alleging that Plaintiff was in possession of
contraband. Three hours later, Plaintiff was transferred to a
different housing unit.
reported to Defendant Kirkland on April 21, 2017, for a
review of the misconduct ticket. Kirkland offered Plaintiff
an opportunity to plead guilty of being in possession of
contraband, in exchange for a sanction of five days' loss
of privileges. Plaintiff refused. On April 25, 2017,
Defendant Kirkland conducted a hearing, finding Plaintiff
guilty of the misconduct charge and imposing a sanction of
six days' loss of privileges.
appealed the misconduct conviction, contending that the
amnesty period prevented him from being found guilty.
Defendant Fenby affirmed the guilty finding, concluding that
the amnesty period did not prevent Plaintiff from being found
guilty of having possession of contraband during the period.
to Plaintiff, Defendant Kalnins permitted over 70 inmates,
“mostly non-blacks, ” the opportunity to turn in
contraband items. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.3.) Plaintiff
alleges that, by ticketing Plaintiff, an African-American,
Defendant Kalnins discriminated against Plaintiff on the
basis of his race.
also contends that the amnesty period provided him the right
to immunity from sanctions for possessing contraband, and he
suggests that issuance of and conviction on the misconduct
ticket deprived him of due process. In addition, Plaintiff
contends that the imposition of sanctions during the amnesty
period amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation
of the Eighth Amendment.
relief, Plaintiff seeks punitive damages.
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 - ...