United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
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
against Defendants Michigan Department of Corrections and
Unknown Party #1. The Court will transfer the remainder of
the action to the Eastern District of Michigan.
John Jakubowski presently is incarcerated with the
Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Gus Harrison
Correctional Facility (ARF) in Adrian, Lenawee County,
Michigan. The events about which he complains occurred at
that facility and the Carson City Correctional Facility (DRF)
in Carson City, Montcalm County, Michigan and the St. Louis
Correctional Facility (SLF) in St. Louis, Gratiot County,
Michigan. Plaintiff sues the MDOC and three optometrists
employed by Corizon Health Care: ARF Optometrist Donald
Halderer and the unknown optometrists at DRF and
SLF (Unknown Parties #1 and #2).
alleges that, in May 2015, he began a series of surgeries for
his cataracts, which were conducted by an ophthalmologist,
Dr. Grandon. The last of the operations was scheduled to be
completed in October 2015, but Petitioner was incarcerated in
September 2015, prior to the last surgery. In November 2016,
Plaintiff was sent to SLF, where he sent a series of kites to
health care, complaining about stabbing eye pain, hazy
vision, grittiness, and severe headaches. Plaintiff requested
that his final cataract surgery be performed. Plaintiff was
seen by the SLF optometrist, Defendant Unknown Party #2, who
refused to identify himself by name. Defendant Unknown Party
#2 gave Plaintiff an eye test and declared that he was
“cured” and required no additional surgeries.
Instead, the doctor told Plaintiff that he simply needed
glasses to correct his vision. Plaintiff told Defendant
Unknown Party #2 that he was worried that some of Dr.
Grandon's stitches had been left in, but Defendant
Unknown Party #2 told Plaintiff that surgeons no longer used
stitches for cataract surgery. Plaintiff alleges that Dr.
Grandon in fact used micro-stitches. Plaintiff contends that
Defendant Unknown Party #2 refused to provide Plaintiff a
records-release form and refused to request Plaintiff's
records from Dr. Grandon.
generally alleges that he received the same response from
every optometrist at every facility at which he has been
housed. All of those optometrists allegedly have been
indifferent to his stabbing eye pain and grating, which
continues to worsen.
March 6, 2018, after having being transferred to ARF,
Plaintiff saw Defendant Donald Halderer. Plaintiff asked
Halderer to get Plaintiff's records from Dr. Grandon. His
request was again denied. Halderer, like Defendant Unknown
Party #2, told Plaintiff that all he needed was glasses and
eye drops. Defendant Halderer also rejected Plaintiff's
characterization of cataracts as a disease.
seeks declaratory 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).
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