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Parker v. Unknown Party

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

May 31, 2018

BRUCE PARKER, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN PARTY 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). The Court will dismiss Plaintiff's claims against the only remaining Defendant, Unknown Party (Correctional Facilities Administration (CFA) Transfer Coordinator), with prejudice for failure to state a claim.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. Plaintiff initially sued URF Warden Connie Horton, URF Inspectors Unknown Miller and Unknown Brown, URF Sergeants Martin and Belinger, URF Corrections Officers De Stabile, Simpson, and Green; URF Doctor Canlas and URF Health Unit Manager and Registered Nurse Melissa LaPlaunt (herein collectively “the URF Defendants”). Plaintiff also sued an unknown party identified as the CFA Transfer Coordinator. The events about which he complains with respect to all Defendants, except the CFA Transfer Coordinator, occurred at URF. Plaintiff's claim against the CFA Transfer Coordinator arose while he was placed at the Carson City Correctional Facility (DRF) in Carson City, Michigan. The Court previously dropped all parties other than the CFA Transfer Coordinator for misjoinder and dismissed the Plaintiff's claims against them without prejudice.

With respect to the CFA Transfer Coordinator, Plaintiff alleges:
22. On January 1, 2018 Plaintiff mailed a letter to defendant CFA Transfer Coordinator informing him/her of defendant's and officials on a pending lawsuit intentions of retaliating against plaintiff by sending plaintiff to a facility he made them aware of that had previously on his last stay there resulted in plaintiff being bombarded with racial epithets and targeted and finally sexually harassed. Plaintiff explained to defendant CFA Transfer Coordinator that he feared for his life being sent to Chippewa Correctional Facility and prayed that he/she wouldn't allow defendant's at Carson City Correctional Facility to transfer plaintiff to Chippewa Correctional Facility in retaliation of plaintiff refusing to drop or dismiss his pending civil suit against Carson City Officers. Plaintiff begged defendant CFA Transfer Coordinator to not approve the transfer if the request ever came from Carson City Officials.
23. On January 16, 2018 Plaintiff was transferred [sic] from Carson City Correctional Facility to Chippewa Correctional Facility. This transfer was approved by defendant CFA Transfer Coordinator. On this same day in question plaintiff filed a grievance against defendant CFA Transfer Coordinator based on deliberate indifference to plaintiffs health and safety by approving plaintiff's transfer to a facility he/ she knew conditions were objectively cruel and unreasonable. See (Grievance Identifier: URF/2018/01/0208/24C). (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.6-7.) The two paragraphs quoted above are the entirety of Plaintiff's factual allegations against the CFA Transfer Coordinator. Based on those allegations, Plaintiff contends that the CFA Transfer Coordinator was deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious harm to Plaintiff in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

         Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the CFA Transfer Coordinator.

         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). Plaintiff alleges that the CFA Transfer Coordinator demonstrated deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Plaintiff in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         The Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the Eighth Amendment embodies a constitutional limitation on the power of the states to punish those convicted of crime. Punishment may not be “barbarous, ” nor may it contravene society's “evolving standards of decency.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 346 (1981); Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86 (1958). The clause therefore prohibits conduct by prison officials that involves the “unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” Ivey v. Wilson, 832 F.2d 950, 954 (6th Cir. 1987) (per curiam) (quoting Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 346.

         An Eighth Amendment claim comprises objective and subjective components: (1) a sufficiently grave deprivation and (2) a sufficiently culpable state of mind. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 8341977 (1994); Woods v. LeCureux, 110 F.3d 1215, 1222 (6th Cir. 1997). A prison official cannot be found liable unless the official has acted with deliberate indifference; that is, the official must know of and disregard an excessive risk to inmate health or safety. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837; see also Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 302-03 (1991) (deliberate indifference standard applies to all claims challenging conditions of confinement to determine whether defendants acted wantonly). The official must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists and he must also draw the inference. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. Thus, the mental state required ...


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