United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern 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 for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Baraga Correctional Facility (AMF)
in Baraga, Michigan. The events about which he complains
occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues Michigan Department
of Corrections, Guard K. Blau, Warden D. Lesatz, Inspector
Unknown Petaja, Guard D. Snarsk, Deputy Warden L. Marshall,
Captain W. Delene, Guard Noah Bessley, Guard Tim Maki,
Resident Unit Manager S. Niemi, and Assistant Resident Unit
Supervisor J. Bessner.
complaint consists of a series of conclusory assertions of
wrongdoing on the part of Defendants. Plaintiff claims that
they are his enemies and that they continue to threaten him,
write false misconducts on him, and tamper with his food.
Plaintiff further asserts:
They have stated that after they press charges on me on
11-14-14 that they will continue to harass and attempt to
provoke me into a confrontation physically so I can be
charged with another criminal case and have to serve a life
sentence. I would like for the videotape on 11-17-14 of which
they will continue to harm me and it's nothing I can do
about it. These officers Noah Beesley, Tim Maki, K. Blau, D.
Snarsk, Inspector Petaja, the Deputy Warden L. Marshall,
[Resident Unit Manager] S. Niemi, [Captain] W. Delene,
[Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor] J. Bessner, Warden D.
Lesatz. I have been subjected to personal abuses and
assaulted and then lied upon stating I caused the assault
upon me. I live in fear of being harmed mentally and
[psychologically] and subjected to more criminal charges if I
am not transfer away from these officers. The Deputy Director
Defendant(s) have been so informed he continue to claim that
I am the problem. The Warden state it's nothing he can do
and if I am harmed, file a grievance these Defendants are
officials and required to protect me from intended physical
and mental harm. My life liberty is in danger by these prison
See ECF No. 1, PageID.7.
claims Defendants have violated his constitutional rights.
Plaintiff seeks damages and equitable 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).
the Court notes that Plaintiff may not maintain a § 1983
action against the Michigan Department of Corrections.
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 Fed.Appx. 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 “person” who
may be sued under § 1983 for money damages. See
Lapides v. Bd. of Regents, 535 U.S. 613 (2002) (citing
Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58
(1989)). Therefore, the Court dismisses the Michigan
Department of Corrections.
the Court notes that conclusory allegations of
unconstitutional conduct without specific factual allegations
fail to state a claim under § 1983. See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-69 (2009); Bell, 550
U.S. at 555. While a complaint need not contain detailed
factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations must
include more than labels and conclusions. Bell 550
U.S. at 555. 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. The court need not accept “threadbare recitals
of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory statements . . . .” Ashcroft, 556
U.S. at 678. “The plausibility standard is not akin to
a ‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. 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
B but it has not ‘show[n]' B that the ...