United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING THE CIVIL RIGHTS
COMPLAINT AND CONCLUDING THAT AN APPEAL CANNOT BE TAKEN IN
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a pro se civil rights case brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Midland County Jail inmate Tremaine Johnson
(“plaintiff”) asserts that he was denied law
library access due to frivolous jail sanctions and that such
action is impeding his defense in a criminal case in which he
is representing himself. The plaintiff names the Midland
County Sheriff's Office Jail Division as the defendant,
but does not include a request for relief. The Court granted
the plaintiff leave to proceed without prepayment of the
filing fee for this action. See 28 U.S.C. §
the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996
(“PLRA”), the Court is required to sua sponte
dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint before service on a
defendant if it determines that the action is frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court is
similarly required to dismiss a complaint seeking redress
against government entities, officers, and employees which it
finds to be frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. A complaint is frivolous if it lacks
an arguable basis in law or in fact. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
pro se civil rights complaint is to be construed
liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21
(1972). Nonetheless, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)
requires that a complaint set forth “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” as well as “a demand for the relief
sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), (3). The purpose of this
rule is to “give the defendant fair notice of what the
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(citation omitted). While this notice pleading standard does
not require “detailed” factual allegations, it
does require more than the bare assertion of legal principles
or conclusions. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Rule 8
“demands more than an unadorned, the
defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
“A pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
state a civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege that: (1) he or she was deprived of a
right, privilege, or immunity secured by the federal
Constitution or laws of the United States; and (2) the
deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of
state law. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149,
155-57 (1978); Harris v. Circleville, 583 F.3d 356,
364 (6th Cir. 2009).
plaintiff identifies the Midland County Sheriff's Office
Jail Division as the sole defendant in this action. Section
1983 imposes liability on any “person” who
violates an individual's federal constitutional or
statutory rights. It is well-settled under Michigan law that
county jails, sheriff departments, and other governmental
agencies are not legal entities amenable to suit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. See Coopshaw v. Lenawee Co.
Sheriff's Office of Lenawee Co., No. 05-CV-72569,
2006 WL 3298898, *6-7 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 14, 2006) (citing
cases); Gross v. Evans, No. 06-CV-13065, 2006 WL
2419195, *2 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 22, 2006); see also Petty v.
County of Franklin, Ohio, et al., 478 F.3d 341, 347 (6th
Cir. 2007) (county sheriff's office was not a legal
entity under Ohio law and was not subject to suit under
§ 1983); Castillo v. Cook Co. Mail Room
Dep't., 990 F.2d 304, 307 (7th Cir. 1993) (per
curiam). The Midland County Sheriff's Office Jail
Division is thus not an entity subject to suit under §
1983 and the complaint must be dismissed.
the Court notes that the plaintiff does not provide dates or
other details in his complaint, nor does he include a request
for relief in his complaint. He thus fails to state a proper
claim for relief in his complaint as required by Rule 8 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. His civil rights
complaint must be dismissed.
reasons stated, the Court concludes that the plaintiff fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted in his
complaint. Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES
the civil rights complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b). The Court also concludes that an
appeal from this decision cannot be taken in good faith.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3); Coppedge v.
United States, 369 U.S. 438, 445 (1962).