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Jackson v. Kokko

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

June 19, 2018

DOUGLAS CORNELL JACKSON, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN KOKKO et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          Paul L. Maloney 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 Kokko, Hill, and Borgen. The Court will serve the complaint against Defendants Perala, Basgen [Bastian], Cordanaro, Skytta, Rule, Bouchard, Holley, and Paacolon.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Ionia Correctional Facility (ICF) in Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan. The events about which he complains, however, occurred at the Baraga Correctional Facility (AMF) in Baraga, Baraga County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues Defendants Sergeant Unknown Kokko, Health Unit Manager Gloria Hill, Sergeant Unknown Borgen, Corrections Officer Unknown Perala, Prison Counselor Unknown Basgen [Bastian], Corrections Officer Unknown Cordanaro, Corrections Officer Unknown Skytta, Corrections Officer Unknown Rule, Law Librarian Joseph Bouchard, Corrections Officer Bobby Holley, and Corrections Officer Unknown Paacolon.

         Plaintiff alleges that on February 16, 2017, he filed a sexual assault grievance against Corrections Officer James Lachance, who is not named as a Defendant in this case. Plaintiff complains that on June 14, 2017, he wrote a grievance on Defendant Rule for taking various legal papers from him. On June 16, 2017, Defendant Rule sent Plaintiff's legal property to AMF cell #1-127. Plaintiff's legal property was a mess, which interfered with his pending and contemplated litigation. When Plaintiff complained to Defendant Rule, he wrote a retaliatory class II misconduct ticket on Plaintiff.

         On November 20, 2017, Defendant Bouchard told Plaintiff to stop filing civil actions against him, or he would deny Plaintiff legal writer services. At the time that Defendant Bouchard made the remarks, Plaintiff was meeting with a legal writer to work on a petition for a writ of certiorari in Jackson v. Bouchard, No. 17-1084 (6th Cir.), and had recently filed grievances on Defendant Bouchard for refusing Plaintiff's copy requests. Plaintiff claims that he requires legal writer services because he only has an eighth grade education and is untrained in the law.

         On November 27, 2017, Plaintiff again complained about the sexual assault by Lachance. On December 19, 2017, Inspector Cummings sarcastically told Plaintiff that Internal Affairs was investigating Lachance. Later that day, Defendant Kokko came to take Plaintiff to segregation. Plaintiff was afraid and urinated on himself. Plaintiff told Defendant Kokko that he wanted to speak to a captain first. Thereafter, Defendant Perala came to Plaintiff's cell and stated, “Since you like writing grievances and filing law suits against my buddies, we've got something special planned for you. I'm gonna work second shift just to pack your shit Mr. Lawyer.” Defendant Perala subsequently wrote a misconduct on Plaintiff, asserting that while packing up Plaintiff's property, he discovered a loose razor blade taped to the rear side leg of the footlocker. Defendant Perala noted that Plaintiff had had complete control of the cell prior to the pack-up of his property. Defendant Perala later refused to let Plaintiff out of his cell for his scheduled meeting with a legal writer. Defendant Kokko wrote Plaintiff a misconduct for refusing to go to segregation.

         Later in the day on December 19, 2017, Plaintiff was taken to segregation without any reason being given. Plaintiff contacted Defendant Bouchard and requested the assistance of a legal writer on December 19 and 20. Plaintiff also requested reference books and a copy of the bar journal so that he could find addresses for pro bono attorneys and to state and federal courts. Plaintiff's requests were denied. Plaintiff states that the actions of Defendant Bouchard prevented him from researching issues such as jurisdiction, venue, standing, exhaustion of remedies, proper defendants, and available relief. Plaintiff also asserts that Defendant Bouchard prevented him from filing a timely petition for writ of certiorari in Sixth Circuit No. 17-1084, and from filing a timely appeal in Jackson v. Feliciano, No. 2:17-cv-77 (W.D. Mich.).[1] Plaintiff received misconduct tickets for disobeying a direct order and possession of contraband, as well as a notice of intent to classify Plaintiff to administrative segregation.

         On December 20, 2017, Hearing Investigator Raymond helped Plaintiff to obtain requested documents and witnesses, but told Plaintiff that he would not provide him with the policy directive on communicable diseases. Plaintiff believes that the policy shows that Defendant Hill did not have the authority to quarantine Plaintiff. Hearing Investigator Raymond told Plaintiff that he belonged in segregation for refusing TB testing and that there was no defense to the dangerous contraband misconduct written by Defendant Perala. Plaintiff claims that without Raymond's assistance, he could not obtain the necessary documents. Plaintiff alleges that at some point Defendant Hill wrote a Notice of Intent (NOI) to classify Plaintiff to administrative segregation for refusing “TB testing.” Plaintiff asserts that he never spoke to Defendants Hill or Borgen about TB testing and that he has no symptoms of TB. Plaintiff contends that Defendants Hill and Borgen were not authorized to send Plaintiff to quarantine. Plaintiff also states that the real reason he is in segregation is for punishment, not for health reasons.

         Also on December 20, 2017, Defendant Paacolon refused to give Plaintiff paper despite the fact that he was aware of Plaintiff's pending cases and filing deadlines. Defendant Paacolon also refused to give Plaintiff his store order, even though Plaintiff had already paid for it. Plaintiff wrote his pleadings on a grievance form, but when he asked Defendant Basgen for an envelope, Defendant Basgen said, “You can forget about any filings in a court after Rule is done with your shit. You will learn not to complain about Baraga Prison staff. The courts don't care.” Plaintiff then asked Defendant Basgen for his store order and Defendant Basgen replied, “You're being taught a lesson not to file lawsuits and grievances, you're not getting store homeboy.” On December 22, 2017, Defendant Paacolon and Corrections Officer Lee gave Plaintiff five duffel bags full of his legal property. Plaintiff states that Defendant Rule had removed all the legal documents and caselaw from the folders and envelopes, so that all the papers were mixed up in the duffel bags. Plaintiff claims that all of his papers had previously been deemed allowable excess legal property. Plaintiff asserts that documents from numerous cases in the state and federal courts were destroyed, confiscated, or lost. Plaintiff has been unable to reassemble his papers, which relate to pending civil and criminal litigation, and insists that Defendant Rule's conduct has prevented him from proving his innocence.

         Plaintiff claims that while in segregation at AMF, Defendant Cordanaro refused to give him writing paper and told Plaintiff to drop his civil suits or he would be killed. When Plaintiff reported the threat, Defendant Basgen told Plaintiff that he did not believe convicts. When Plaintiff asked Defendant Basgen for writing paper, he replied that if Plaintiff “took the TB test [he] would not need writing paper or been charged with having a razor.” Defendant Basgen then advised Plaintiff to drop the civil suit. Defendant Skytta came to Plaintiff's cell and said “Don't ask me for shit or you won't eat.” Plaintiff was never given any writing paper despite the fact that Plaintiff told Defendants Cordanaro, Skytta, and Basgen about the deadlines for his pending cases. Defendant Skytta later warned Plaintiff by stating, “If you file any grievances, you're going to die old nigger.” Plaintiff alleges that he asked Defendant Bouchard to reschedule the December 19, 2017, legal writer meeting because of the impending deadline for filing a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court. Plaintiff states that the legal writer came to his unit on December 23, 25, 26, and 30 of 2017, but only met with Plaintiff on December 30, 2017. At that point, the deadline for filing the petition for writ of certiorari had expired.

         On December 27, 2017, Defendants Skytta, Cordanaro, and Basgen denied Plaintiff's request for soap. On December 28, 2017, Defendants Skytta, Cordanaro, and Basgen denied Plaintiff's requests for soap and toothpaste, stating that the items were not allowed in segregation. Later that day, Defendant Holley told Plaintiff that because he had accused Corrections Officer Lachance of sexual assault, Defendant Holley was going to “fuck him up.” Defendant Holley later lied and said that Plaintiff refused to attend his hearing. Plaintiff was found guilty and given 10 days loss of privileges. On December 28, 2017, Plaintiff had three hearings on the misconduct tickets and the notice of intent he received on December 19, 2017. Plaintiff was not present at the hearing on the disobeying a direct order misconduct because Defendant Holley lied and said that Plaintiff was refusing to attend. Plaintiff was not allowed to offer evidence at his hearings on the notice of intent and the dangerous contraband ticket. Plaintiff was found guilty at all three hearings.

         On December 29, 2017, Plaintiff ordered indigent legal supplies. Defendants Skytta and Cordanaro again refused to give Plaintiff soap and toothpaste and warned him that if he complained they would assault him. Plaintiff asked to send out legal mail to a state court, but Defendants Skytta and Cordanaro refused and Defendant Skytta stated, “not gon ...


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