Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jakubowski v. Michigan Department of Corrections

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

April 26, 2018

JOHN JAKUBOWSKI, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          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 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.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff John Jakubowski[1] 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[2] and the unknown optometrists at DRF and SLF (Unknown Parties #1 and #2).

         Plaintiff 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.

         Plaintiff 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.

         On 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.

         Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief.

         II. Failure to state a claim

         A 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)).

         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); 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).

         A. Sovereign Immunity

         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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.