United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
DISMISSING COMPLAINT AND DENYING PETITIONER’S
APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO PROCEED WITHOUT PREPAYMENT OF COSTS
AND MOTION REQUESTING APPOINTMENT OF UNITED STATES MARSHALS
TO SERVE SUMMONS
G. EDMUNDS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
state prisoner Kerry Dotson has filed a pro se
complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, concerning an accident
that occurred while he was incarcerated at the G. Robert
Cotton Correction Facility in Jackson, Michigan. He names
three defendants, the warden of the Cotton Correctional
Facility, and two maintenance worker. Plaintiff claims that
defendants were deliberately indifferent to his safety.
Plaintiff seeks monetary relief. The complaint will be
dismissed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint set
forth “a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief,” as well as
“a demand for the relief sought.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2), (3). The purpose of this rule is 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) and Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a)(2)). While this notice pleading standard does not
require “detailed” factual allegations,
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, it does require more than
the bare assertion of legal conclusions or “an
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.’”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.’” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
plaintiff paid the filing fee in this action, thus rendering
inapplicable this Court’s authority to screen such
complaints for frivolity or maliciousness pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). However, a review of a
prisoner’s civil rights complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A is appropriate regardless of whether the
prisoner has sought in forma pauperis status when
the claim is brought against governmental entities, officers
or employees. Benson v. O’Brian, 179 F.3d
1014, 1017 (6th Cir. 1999). If a prisoner’s complaint
seeks relief from a governmental entity, officer, or
employee, Congress has directed that the district court must
dismiss it, or any part thereof, which (a) is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, or (b) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from suit for monetary damages. 28 U.S.C. §
1915A; see also McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d
601, 612 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007).
state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege
that: (1) he was deprived of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the federal Constitution or laws of the United
States, and (2) the deprivation was caused by a person acting
under color of state law. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436
U.S. 149, 155-57 (1978). A pro se civil rights
complaint is to be construed liberally. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
alleges that, on February 10, 2016, while he was sleeping in
his assigned bunk at the Cotton Correctional Facility,
ceiling debris fell on his head, neck, and left shoulder. He
was transported to the hospital for x-rays and treatment.
Plaintiff states that he continues to suffer from headaches
and neck and shoulder pain. Plaintiff alleges that the
accident occurred when maintenance was being performed on the
ceiling tiles above his bunk. He argues that maintenance
workers and the warden were deliberately indifferent to his
safety when they failed to clear the space under the work
area prior to commencing the construction.
Eighth Amendment prohibits punishments which, although not
physically barbarous, involve the unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain, or are grossly disproportionate to the
severity of the crime.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452
U.S. 337, 346 (1981) (citation omitted) (internal quotation
marks omitted). While there is no “static test”
to determine whether the conditions of confinement violate
the Eighth Amendment, prison officials violate the Eighth
Amendment when they act with deliberate indifference to an
inmate’s health or deprive an inmate of basic human
needs, food, medical care or sanitation. Id. at
346-47. A viable Eighth Amendment claim consists of an
objective and a subjective component. Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). The objective
component requires a plaintiff to show that the deprivations
to which he has been subjected deprived him of “the
minimal civilized measure of life’s necessities.”
Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 347 (1981). The subjective
component requires the plaintiff to demonstrate that the
prison officials acted wantonly, with deliberate indifference
to the plaintiff’s serious needs. Farmer, 511
U.S. at 834. Deliberate indifference exists when “the
official knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate
health or safety; the official must both be aware of facts
from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial
risk of harm exists, and he must also draw the
inference.” Id. at 837. The deliberate
indifference standard “describes a state of mind more
blameworthy than negligence.” Id. at 835.
in Plaintiff’s complaint supports a finding that the
incident, while unfortunate, was anything more than an
accident. “An accident, although it may produce added
anguish, is not on that basis alone to be characterized as
wanton infliction of unneccesary pain.” Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105-06 (1976). To sustain an Eighth
Amendment claim, Plaintiff must allege facts to support a
finding that each of the defendants knew or should have known
that the construction posed a substantial risk to
Plaintiff’s safety, but that they nevertheless
proceeded. Plaintiff fails to do so. The complaint,
therefore, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted and will be dismissed.
IT IS ORDERED that the complaint is
DISMISSED. Plaintiff’s Application to
Proceed Without Prepaying Fees or Costs (Dkt. # 2) and Motion
Requesting Appointment of United States Marshals to Serve
Summons and Complaint (Dkt. # 3) are DENIED AS MOOT.
Court finds an appeal in this case would be frivolous and not
taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3);
Coppedge v. United States, 369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962).
Therefore, Plaintiff is not certified to pursue an appeal
from this judgment in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(3). Nevertheless, should Plaintiff decide to
file a notice of appeal, he may seek ...