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Holloway v. Russell

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan

April 25, 2018

RICHARD RUSSELL et al., Defendants.


          Honorable Paul L. Maloney United States District Judge.

         This is 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 against Defendants for failure to state a claim.


         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF) in Manistee County, Michigan, where the events giving rise to his complaint occurred. Plaintiff sues Grievance Section Manager Richard Russell, ECF Law Librarian Nathaniel Bomer, and ECF Deputy Warden T. Ball.

         Plaintiff alleges that during the first week of October 2017, his appeal from a judgment in a civil rights suit, Holloway v. McLaren, No. 2:14-cv-83 (W.D. Mich.), was denied by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. See Holloway v. McLaren, No. 16-2508, 2017 WL 5202036 (6th Cir. Aug. 30, 2017). He contends that he had 21 days in which to file a motion for reconsideration or a motion to alter or amend judgment, and that he needed extra law library time to prepare his motion.

         On October 9, 2017, he sent a kite to Librarian Bomer asking for extra time. He did not receive a response. On October 13, 2017, Plaintiff saw Bomer during Plaintiff's regularly-scheduled call out for the law library, and Plaintiff again asked Bomer for extra time in the law library. Bomer asked who the defendants were in the action. When Plaintiff told him that the MDOC was a defendant, Bomer stated that Plaintiff needed a court to obtain additional time.

         About two weeks later, Plaintiff asserts that he received a notice from the court of appeals indicating that his 21-day deadline for filing for relief had expired. He contends that it is “highly possible” that he could have obtained relief in his favor if he had been able to file a motion for relief from judgment or motion for reconsideration. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4.)

         On November 9, 2017, Plaintiff received a misconduct ticket for being out of place because he did not make it to the library during his call-out. Plaintiff pled guilty to the misconduct and received a “4-day sanction, ” which he began serving that day. (Id.)

         On November 13, 2017, Plaintiff sent a kite to Defendant Bomer, requesting forms that would permit him to request library materials in the same way that prisoners in segregation receive their materials. Plaintiff never received a response. He contends that Bomer's failure to respond denied him access to the courts.

         Plaintiff was scheduled to attend the law library on November 15 and 16, 2017, but Bomer allegedly called his unit and informed other officers that Plaintiff's call-outs had been cancelled. Plaintiff contends that Bomer lacked authority to cancel his library call-outs, and misapplied MDOC policy. Plaintiff also contends that Bomer took these actions in retaliation for Plaintiff's lawsuit against the prison.

         Plaintiff further alleges that, on November 17, and 21, 2018, Bomer sent Plaintiff an altered copy of the prison library misconduct policy that omitted a portion of the policy relevant to Plaintiff's situation.

         Plaintiff filed a grievance against Bomer. Apparently, the grievance reviewer determined that Bomer had taken the appropriate course of action. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Russell responded to the grievance at step III of the grievance appeal process and determined that the grievance reviwer rendered a proper decision on the grievance. Plainitff further alleges that Deputy Warden Ball “disregarded . . . his legal duty by agreeing that the illegal and unconstitutional acts [of] the prison library staff was the right thing to do[.]” (Compl., PageID.9.)

         Plaintiff claims that Bomer denied Plaintiff his right of access to the courts, denied Plaintiff his right to due process, and retaliated against Plaintiff for Plaintiff's protected conduct. Plaintiff also claims that Defendants Russell and ...

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