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Mosley v. Kutzli

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

May 31, 2018

KYLE MOSLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN KUTZLI et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          GORDON J. QUIST 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 Smalligan, Sheppard, Chamberlain, Decker, Sanchez, Nestle, Borgman, and Mendham. The Court will serve the complaint against Defendants Kutzli and Lake.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated at the Newaygo County Jail. The events of which Plaintiff complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues Newaygo County Deputies Unknown Kutzli, Brian Lake, Unknown Smalligan, Unknown Decker, Unknown Chamberlain, and Unknown Sheppard; Corporal Unknown Nestle; Sergeant Gabe Sanchez; Lieutenant John Borgman; and Sheriff Unknown Mendham. Plaintiff alleges that on December 14, 2017, he and another inmate were involved in a fight. There was some difficulty opening the cell door; accordingly, the responding officers were hampered in their ability to stop the fight. Defendant Sanchez directed the inmates to cease fighting or Sanchez would use a taser to stop the fight.

         Plaintiff alleges that he and the other inmate stopped fighting after Defendant Sanchez threatened to use the taser. Plaintiff contends he did not thereafter resist; nonetheless, Defendant Kutzli grabbed him and threw Plaintiff from the cell area into the hallway.

         Once in the hallway, Plaintiff states that several deputies handled him. He contends specifically that Defendant Kutzli slammed Plaintiff's face into the floor and then put his knees on Plaintiff's face causing him significant pain. Plaintiff further contends that Defendant Lake put his knee, and the entire weight of his body, into the back of Plaintiff's knee causing him significant pain. After about two minutes, the deputies hauled Plaintiff to his feet, placed him in a restraint chair, and placed him in a holding cell. Plaintiff remained in the restraint chair for an hour. During that time, he was seen by a nurse.

         After the incident Plaintiff attempted to discuss the matter with Defendant Borgman. Borgman refused. Plaintiff asked Defendant Nestle for a grievance. Nestle refused. Despite repeated requests, Plaintiff was not provided an inmate grievance form until almost four months after the incident. Plaintiff's grievance, attached to his complaint, was denied by Defendant Sanchez based on his review of the video of the incident.

         Although Defendants Smalligan, Sheppard, Chamberlain and Decker participated in holding Plaintiff down, Plaintiff does not allege any use of excessive force by those Defendants. Rather, he complains that they did not stop Kutzli and Lake. Plaintiff makes similar allegations against Defendants Sanchez, Nestle, Borgman, and Mendham-that they failed to stop Kutzli and Lake from using excessive force.

         Plaintiff also alleges that Defendants interfered with his right to pursue an administrative grievance. Plaintiff finally complains that Defendant Borgman refused to go forward with an administrative grievance in retaliation for Plaintiff's prior assault of a prison employee.

         Plaintiff seeks hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensatory damages.

         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 ยง 1983 is a method for vindicating federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself, the first step in an action ...


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