United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. QUIST 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 the Ionia Correctional Facility (ICF)
in Ionia, Michigan. The events about which he complains,
however, occurred at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional
Facility (MTU), also in Ionia, Michigan. Plaintiff sues MTU
Prison Counselor Chad Daugherty.
alleges that, on April 1, 2017, he was elected to serve on
the MTU Warden's Forum as a housing unit representative
of Unit B. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.3.) Upon consultation
with fellow unit members, Plaintiff identified several
problems on his unit including: dust and spider webs in cell
intake and exhaust vents; cells needing painting; toilets too
close to bunks; cell windows needing caulking; timers on cell
toilets; usage of bleach; and outbreaks of scabies and spider
bites. (Id.) By July of 2017, Plaintiff's
“constituents” voiced a concern that no action
had been taken. (Id.) During a July, 2017 meeting of
unit representatives, at Plaintiff's urging, a quorum of
representatives voted to put the issues Plaintiff had raised
on the Warden's Agenda for the August forum meeting.
20, 2017, MTU Residential Unit Manager (RUM) John Payne met
with Plaintiff regarding the issues Plaintiff had placed on
the agenda. (Id.) RUM Payne told Plaintiff he would
call Defendant Daugherty to do a cell inspection to determine
the issues that required attention. (Id.) About an
hour later, Defendant Daugherty visited Plaintiff and chided
him for being a tattletale. (Id., PageID.4.)
Plaintiff does not indicate whether Defendant Daugherty ever
conducted the inspection. Nonetheless, it appears Defendant
Daugherty may have conducted the inspection because,
Plaintiff alleges, Defendant Daugherty, at RUM Payne's
direction, typed out approximately 30 Class III misconducts
against members of Plaintiff's unit because their cells
were not in compliance with housekeeping rules.
(Id.; Prisoner Grievance Appeal Form, ECF No. 1-1,
PageID.22.) The only details Plaintiff supplies with regard
to the noncompliance is that it included “having items
stored on unauthorized surfaces in their cells” and
“each actual room violation was different in each
prisoner cell.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4.)
misconduct reports were prefaced with the following
statement: “Due to the block rep meeting, it has been
brought to my attention that unit/cell cleanliness is
becoming an issue.” (Prisoner Grievance Form, ECF No.
1-1, PageID.12.) Plaintiff contends that Defendant
Daugherty's words implied that Plaintiff had brought to
the attention of Defendant Daugherty the specific conduct
that formed the basis for the misconduct report. (Compl., ECF
No. 1, PageID.4.) Plaintiff complains that he was labeled a
“rat”, subjected to threats of physical
altercations, and commanded to pay for commissary goods.
(Id.) Ultimately, after Plaintiff complained, MTU
Warden Dewayne Burton pulled all of the misconduct tickets.
(Id., PageID.5; Second Step Grievance Response, ECF
No. 1-1, PageID.19.) Nonetheless, Plaintiff was transferred
to the Ionia Correctional Facility on August 9, 2017.
(Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.5.)
claims Defendant Daugherty's inclusion of the statement
regarding the block rep meeting in the Class III misconduct
reports violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights.
Plaintiff seeks $50, 000.00 in punitive 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).
complains that Defendant Daugherty's inclusion of the
“Due to the block rep meeting . . . . ” sentence
violated Plaintiff's First Amendment rights because it
was in retaliation for Plaintiff's placing the
cleanliness issue on the Warden's Forum Agenda. Plaintiff
also contends that the inclusion of that language
demonstrates that Defendant Daugherty was deliberately
indifferent to Plaintiff's safety.