United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
KENNETH R. KOAN, SR., Plaintiff,
NOAH NAGY, Defendant.
T. Neff 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 Lakeland Correctional Facility (LCF) in
Coldwater, Branch County, Michigan, where the events giving
rise to his complaint occurred. Plaintiff sues LCF Warden
alleges that mailroom staff will not allow him to send
packages out of the facility to his attorney, unless he pays
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).
does not make any allegations against Defendant Nagy.
Defendant is not even mentioned in the body of the complaint.
It is a basic pleading essential that a plaintiff attribute
factual allegations to particular defendants. See
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 544 (holding that, in order to
state a claim, a plaintiff must make sufficient allegations
to give a defendant fair notice of the claim). Where a person
is named as a defendant without an allegation of specific
conduct, the complaint is subject to dismissal, even under
the liberal construction afforded to pro se complaints.
See Gilmore v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 92 Fed.Appx. 188,
190 (6th Cir. 2004) (dismissing complaint where plaintiff
failed to allege how any named defendant was involved in the
violation of his rights); Frazier v. Michigan, 41
Fed.Appx. 762, 764 (6th Cir. 2002) (dismissing
plaintiff's claims where the complaint did not allege
with any degree of specificity which of the named defendants
were personally involved in or responsible for each alleged
violation of rights); Griffin v. Montgomery, No.
00-3402, 2000 WL 1800569, at *2 (6th Cir. Nov. 30, 2000)
(requiring allegations of personal involvement against each
defendant); Rodriguez v. Jabe, No. 90-1010, 1990 WL
82722, at *1 (6th Cir. June 19, 1990) (“Plaintiff's
claims against those individuals are without a basis in law
as the complaint is totally devoid of allegations as to them
which would suggest their involvement in the events leading
to his injuries”).
Nagy is not liable for the conduct of others at LCF.
Government officials are not liable for the unconstitutional
conduct of their subordinates under a theory of respondeat
superior or vicarious liability. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
676; Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691(1978); Everson v.
Leis, 556 F.3d 484, 495 (6th Cir. 2009). A claimed
constitutional violation must be based upon active
unconstitutional behavior. Grinter v. Knight, 532
F.3d 567, 575-76 (6th Cir. 2008); Greene v. Barber,
310 F.3d 889, 899 (6th Cir. 2002). The acts of one's
subordinates are not enough, nor can supervisory liability be
based upon the mere failure to act. Grinter, 532
F.3d at 576; Greene, 310 F.3d at 899; Summers v.
Leis, 368 F.3d 881, 888 (6th Cir. 2004). Moreover,
§ 1983 liability may not be imposed simply because a
supervisor denied an administrative grievance or failed to
act based upon information contained in a grievance. See
Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999).
“[A] plaintiff must plead that each Government-official
defendant, through the official's own individual actions,
has violated the Constitution.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 676. Plaintiff has failed to allege that Defendant
Nagy engaged in any active unconstitutional behavior.
Accordingly, Plaintiff fails to state a claim against him.
conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform
Act, the Court determines that Defendant Nagy will be
dismissed for failure to state a claim, under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b), and 42 U.S.C. §
Court must next decide whether an appeal of this action would
be in good faith within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3). See McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d
601, 611 (6th Cir. 1997). For the same reasons that the Court
dismisses the action, the Court discerns no good-faith basis
for an appeal. Should Plaintiff appeal this decision, the
Court will assess the $505.00 appellate filing fee pursuant
to § 1915(b)(1), see McGore, 114 F.3d at
610-11, unless Plaintiff is barred from proceeding in
forma pauperis, e.g., by ...