United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
LON L. HAMPTON, Plaintiff,
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS et al., Defendants.
HONORABLE PAUL 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 for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Ojibway Correctional Facility (OCF)
in Marenisco, Gogebic County, Michigan. The events about
which he complains, however, occurred prior to his
incarceration. Plaintiff sues the Department of Veterans
Affairs, the Michigan Attorney General, City of Niles Police
Department, Berrien County Jail, Trial Attorney Paul Jancha,
Appellate Attorney Gary L. Kohut, Replacement Appellate
Attorney William H. Archer, and father of alleged victim
alleges that all of the named Defendants acted in ways that
led to him being falsely charged and convicted of
first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Defendant Department of
Veterans Affairs evicted him from his housing in 2008.
Plaintiff subsequently rented a basement apartment from
Defendant Quaye's ex-wife. In order to get Plaintiff to
move out of the apartment, Defendant Quaye convinced his
fifteen-year-old daughter to accuse Plaintiff of sexually
assaulting her. Plaintiff was arrested and falsely charged
with drinking and drug usage. Plaintiff was taken to the
police station, where he was beaten. Plaintiff was
subsequently charged with first-degree criminal sexual
conduct because he was a “family member, ”
although Plaintiff states he is not related to the victim in
any way. Plaintiff claims that he is incarcerated as the
result of false charges in violation of his constitutional
rights. Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive relief.
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).
clear from Plaintiff's complaint that he is challenging
the validity of his conviction and continued incarceration.
Claims which implicate the fact or duration of confinement
must be brought as claims for habeas corpus relief under 28
U.S.C. § 2254. See Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411
U.S. 475 (1973). A claim that has been brought pursuant to
Section 1983, may not be construed as a habeas corpus claim.
See Barnes v. Lewis, No. 93-5698, 1993 WL 515483
(6th Cir. Dec. 10, 1993) (dismissal is appropriate where
§ 1983 action seeks equitable relief and challenges fact
or duration of confinement); Moore v. Pemberton, 110
F.3d 22 (7th Cir. 1997) (reasons for not construing a §
1983 action as one seeking habeas relief include (1)
potential application of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477, 114 S.Ct. 2364 (1994), (2) differing defendants, (3)
differing standards of § 1915(a)(3) and § 2253 (c),
(4) differing fee requirements, (5) potential application of
second or successive petition doctrine or three-strikes rules
of § 1915(g)).
addition, the related damages claims must be
dismissed pursuant to Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S.
477, 114 S.Ct. 2364 (1994), and Edwards v. Balisok,
520 U.S. 641, 117 S.Ct. 1584 (1997). A claim for damages
which hinges upon the validity of a conviction affecting the
length of a prisoner's sentence does not accrue and is
therefore not cognizable under Section 1983 until plaintiff
has first established the invalidity of the conviction in the
state courts or through a habeas corpus proceeding. Proof of
the illegality of a conviction is a necessary element of the
§ 1983 cause of action. Unless a conviction has been
reversed, there has been no injury of constitutional
proportions, and thus no § 1983 suit may exist. Heck
v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. at 482, 114 S.Ct. at 2370;
Schilling v. White, 58 F.3d 1081, 1086 (6th Cir.
prisoner seeks money damages in a Section 1983 action for the
collateral consequences of an allegedly invalid conviction,
he necessarily requires the Court to assess the validity of
the underlying conviction. As declared in Preiser
and reiterated in Heck, a challenge to the validity
of a matter requiring habeas corpus scrutiny is not
cognizable under Section 1983. Further, pursuant to
Heck, a damages claim arising out of the same
challenge, which is cognizable under Section 1983,
does not accrue until Plaintiff has had the conviction
reversed or set aside. Schilling, 58 F.3d at 1086.
Edwards, the Court cited Heck for the
proposition that in order to recover damages under §
1983 for an allegedly unconstitutional conviction or
sentence, a plaintiff must prove that the conviction or
sentence has been overturned. Id. 520 U.S. at 641-2,
117 S.Ct. at 1586 (citing Heck, 512 U.S. at
486-487). The Supreme Court then noted that the Ninth Circuit
“was incorrect in asserting that a claim seeking
damages only ‘for using the wrong procedure, not for
reaching the wrong result' . . . would never be subject
to the limitation announced in Heck.”
Edwards, 520 U.S. 646, 117 S.Ct. at 1588. The
Supreme Court went on to hold that where a prisoner's
claim of unfair procedures in a disciplinary hearing
necessarily implies the invalidity of the deprivation of
good-time credits, his claim for money damages is not
cognizable under § 1983. Edwards, 520 U.S. 648,
117 S.Ct. at 1589. Finally, the Court held that a stay of a
§ 1983 claim while a plaintiff seeks the restoration of
good-time credits would be inappropriate because § 1983
contains no judicially imposed exhaustion requirement.
Rather, “a claim is either cognizable under § 1983
and should immediately go forward, or is not cognizable and
should be dismissed.” Id.
since Plaintiff has not yet established the invalidity of the
misconduct ticket in the state courts or in a federal habeas
action, his related Section 1983 claim for damages has not
yet accrued. ...