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
against Defendants Unknown Party and MDOC. The Court will
serve the complaint against Defendants Unknown Cook and
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 AMF, as well as at the Chippewa Correctional
Facility (URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan.
Plaintiff sues Unknown Cook, RN, Unknown Finegan, RN, Unknown
Party inmate who assaulted Plaintiff, and the Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC).
alleges that on May 31, 2015, he was assaulted by Defendant
Unknown Party while in the chow hall. Plaintiff claims that
Defendant Unknown Party struck him in the head and face
several times with a lock in a sock. Plaintiff was then
“thrown” into a cell on involuntary protective
custody, with tape on his eye, while he was bleeding.
Plaintiff subsequently experienced blurry vision, twitching
in the left side of his neck, bad headaches, and difficulty
sleeping. Plaintiff reported all of his symptoms to Defendant
Cook, who charged him $5.00 for a visit and told him that he
had a keloid over his right eye and would be fine. Plaintiff
was told to do some neck exercises and was given Tylenol.
Plaintiff never received any tests for treatment for his head
was transferred to AMF on March 23, 2016, he requested health
care for his symptoms. Plaintiff spoke to a nurse, who asked
if he had a CAT scan following the assault. Plaintiff said
“no, ” and she told him that the odds were that
he was suffering from “bad head trauma.” The
Nurse then just walked away. Plaintiff eventually submitted a
medical kite and Defendant Finegan responded by stating that
Plaintiff had a medical callout on November 18, 2017, and to
take ibuprofen for the headaches. However, Plaintiff was not
seen by health care on that date.
claims that he was assaulted, and subsequently denied medical
treatment in violation of his rights under the Eighth
Amendment. Plaintiff seeks 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 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).
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.
addition, Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Unknown
Party must be dismissed. To 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); Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d
543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009); Street v. Corr. Corp. of
Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir. 1996). In order for a
private party's conduct to be under color of state law,
it must be “fairly attributable to the State.”
Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 937
(1982); Street, 102 F.3d at 814. There must be
“a sufficiently close nexus between the State and the
challenged action of [the defendant] so that the action of
the latter may be fairly treated as that of the State
itself.” Skelton v. Pri-Cor, Inc., 963 F.2d
100, 102 (6th Cir. 1991) (citing Jackson ...