United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
J. JONKER CHIEF 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. §
l997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff spro se
complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiffs 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
Plaintiffs complaint for failure to state a claim against
Defendants Michigan Department of Corrections, Bill Schuette,
Catherine Bauman, and Heidi E. Washington. The Court will
serve the complaint against Defendants Joseph Naeyaert, K.
Mattson, Unknown Kurth, and Unknown Cobb.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF) in
Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan. The events about which
he complains, however, occurred at the Alger Correctional
Facility (LMF) in Munising, Alger County, Michigan. Plaintiff
sues the Michigan Department of Corrections, Resident Unit
Manager Joseph Naeyaert, Unknown Parties #1 named as
"Health Care Nurses and PA., " Housing Unit Officer
K. Mattson, Unit Officer Unknown Kurth, Cedar Unit Officer
Unknown Cobb, Michigan State Attorney General Bill Schuette,
Warden Catherine Bauman, and MDOC Director Heidi E.
claims that on November 9, 2016, he told Defendant Mattson
that he could not lock in the unit any longer because he was
being forced to prostitute himself for gang members.
Defendant Mattson was only concerned with whether Plaintiff
was going to return to his cell. Plaintiff was forced to go
to segregation for disobeying a direct order on two occasions
in order to get away from the assaults.
alleges that on August 31, 2017, he was told by his
prospective cell mate, inmate Flores, that Plaintiff could
not lock with him because Plaintiff was transgender.
Plaintiff then told Defendant Naeyaert that he could not lock
in his assigned cell because he was not wanted and would be
assaulted. Defendant Naeyaert asked Plaintiff if he was
alright. Defendant Naeyaert then told Plaintiff to go back to
his cell and that Flores would not hurt him. Plaintiff
complied. On September 1, 2017, after being told several
times by Flores to move, Plaintiff told Officer Brennan that
he needed to move to avoid being assaulted. Officer Brennan
told Plaintiff to be patient because the only open room was
just as bad. Later that night, while Plaintiff was on the
small yard, a few of Flores' "Latin King
brothers" told Plaintiff if he did not get out of the
room, they would "fuck [him] up." Plaintiff
reported the incident to Officer Leffler and asked to go to
suicide watch. Plaintiff was taken to the dayroom and was
subsequently placed in a suicide watch cell.
four days, Plaintiff spoke to psychologist Wood and explained
the situation. Wood told Plaintiff that he was going to
release him back to the unit and attempt to get him into
another room. Once in the unit, Plaintiff asked Defendants
Mattson and Cobb what room he had been assigned. When
Plaintiff was told the room number, he protested that he
could not go there because he would be assaulted or killed.
Defendant Mattson told Plaintiff to turn around and cuff up.
Plaintiff was then escorted to the showers and locked in.
Defendant Cobb stated, "Why don't you quit being
such a pussy, fag, bitch and fight?" Plaintiff just
shook his head. When prison counselor Salo came to the unit,
he asked Plaintiff what was wrong. Plaintiff explained that
he was trying to avoid being assaulted or killed. Salo said,
"I don't know what you're talking about, "
and walked away. Plaintiff was eventually taken to suicide
watch by Defendant Kurth and Sergeant Nesberg.
on suicide watch from September 2, 2017, to September 5,
2017, Plaintiff was denied his thyroid medication. Plaintiff
wrote to Defendants Washington, Bauman, and Schuette to
complain, to no avail. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and
punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.
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.'" BellAtl. 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 plaintiffs 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. §§ l9l5A(b)(1) and l9l5(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).
fails to make specific factual allegations against Defendants
Schuette, Bauman, and Washington, other than his claim that
they failed to conduct an investigation in response to his
grievances. Government officials may not be held 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