United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. QUIST 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 Carson City Correctional Facility
(DRF) in Carson City, Montcalm County, Michigan. The events
about which he complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff
sues DRF Food Service Director, Unknown Vrane. Plaintiff also
identifies in the case caption a second Defendant, Unknown
Party, who is described as a Trinity Food Service employee.
alleges that on December 11, 2017, he wrote a formal
complaint against the food service with the Director of the
MDOC, the business manager at DRF, and the Director of
Operations at Trinity Service Group. He complained about
cross-contamination of the vegan food by the cooler workers
who pulled the vegetables out of the cooler after they had
pulled the meat. Two days later, the food inspector came
through the vegan kitchen for the monthly inspection.
Plaintiff and Defendant Vrane were present.
again voiced his complaint about the cross-contamination.
Defendant Vrane indicated that he would instruct the vegan
cooks to pull their own food from the cooler. Before the
inspector left, he noticed that Plaintiff was drinking coffee
from a cup. The inspector also noticed that Plaintiff's
coat was under a counter in the vegan kitchen. The inspector
told Plaintiff these two issues raised additional concerns
expressed his disagreement with the inspector's concern.
Plaintiff also noted that the handling of the kitchen whites
worn by the vegan kitchen staff similarly risked
next day, Plaintiff reported for work, but was told he was
“laid in.” Plaintiff's investigation
disclosed that Defendant Vrane had reported Plaintiff with
respect to the cup and the coat, the cross-contamination
concerns that the inspector had raised the day before. The
report noted that Plaintiff had received two prior warnings
and that, despite the warnings, the recent inspection had
revealed continued problems--the cup and the coat. The report
resulted in Plaintiff's removal from his position in the
then filed grievances and complaints about Defendant Vrane
claiming, among other things, that Defendant Vrane had
questioned Plaintiff's hiring in the first place because
of all the grievances Plaintiff filed. Plaintiff claims that
he has not been able to get another job because Defendant
Vrane also told the classification director that Plaintiff
was a security threat.
contends that Defendant Vrane's actions constitute
unlawful retaliation for Plaintiff's exercise of his
First Amendment rights. Plaintiff makes no allegations of
action or inaction by Unknown Party. Plaintiff seeks a
declaration that Defendant Vrane violated his rights and
unspecified injunctive relief as well as compensatory,
nominal, and 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 - 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 ...