United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING
PLAINTIFF'S CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT AND DENYING MOTIONS TO
APPOINT COUNSEL AND A GUARDIAN AD LITEM
H. CLELAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Tina Marie Clarke-incarcerated at the Huron Valley
Women's Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan-has
filed a document entitled “Motion for Appointment of
Counsel and Guardian Ad Litem.” (Dkt. #1.) The court
construes the filing as a civil rights complaint under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and will dismiss for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. The motion for the
appointment of counsel or a guardian ad litem is denied.
alleges that she suffers from a Traumatic Brain Injury
(“TBI”) as a result of an automobile accident
years ago. She says that this injury has rendered her
mentally incompetent. The Michigan state courts ordered
appointment of a guardian ad litem to assist Plaintiff with
says that in February 2014, she asked the law librarian at
the Huron Valley Women's Correctional Facility if she
could have extra time in the library. The United States Court
of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit had affirmed the district
court's denial of her petition for writ of habeas corpus,
and Plaintiff needed additional time to research the deadline
for filing a motion for rehearing en banc. Plaintiff also
requested assistance from a legal writer: a fellow prisoner
who could provide legal assistance. She requested assistance
with filing a petition for writ of certiorari with the United
States Supreme Court.
claims that Delores Kapulsinski, a fellow prisoner, was
appointed to be her legal writer. Plaintiff alleges that Ms.
Kapulsinski miscalculated the deadline for filing a petition
for writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court. Plaintiff
alleges that as a result of Ms. Kapulsinski's negligence,
the Supreme Court refused to entertain her petition for writ
of certiorari because it was untimely. Plaintiff further
alleges that Ms. Kapulsinki gave her inaccurate information
about when she learned that the Supreme Court had rejected
the petition for writ of certiorari.
further alleges that she asked the law librarian if she could
obtain a legal writer to help her draft a § 1983 lawsuit
against the firm that supervised the Legal Writers
Program-Peterson, Paletta, and Balese PLC-for Ms.
Kapulsinki's alleged negligence. Plaintiff claims that
Ms. Kapulsinski was actually assigned to assist Plaintiff
with preparing her civil rights complaint. Ms. Kapulsinski
was ultimately removed from the case because Peterson,
Paletta, and Balese PLC asserted that there was a conflict of
interest for Ms. Kapulsinski to continue to assist Plaintiff
with her legal matters.
was assigned another legal writer, Sharon Radke, who was also
later removed. A third prisoner, Carol Poole, was assigned to
assist Plaintiff. Eventually, Ms. Poole informed Plaintiff
that she could no longer avail herself of the Legal Writers
Program because it would be a conflict of interest while she
was attempting to sue Peterson, Paletta, and Balese.
claims that Peterson, Paletta, and Balese and her assigned
legal writers deliberately allowed the three year statute of
limitations to expire on her civil rights complaint.
Plaintiff also claims that all three legal writers extracted
information from her under false pretenses because they all
knew they were laboring under a conflict of interest.
Plaintiff has filed a complaint against Peterson, Paletta,
and Balese with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission.
present suit, Plaintiff has only named one defendant: Shawn
S. Brewer, the warden at the Huron Valley Women's
has been allowed to proceed in forma pauperis
(“IFP”)-without prepayment of fees. See 28 §
U.S.C. 1915(a); McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d
601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997). The court must dismiss an IFP
complaint if the action is “frivolous or
malicious” or “fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted.” § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)- (ii).
“A complaint . . . is frivolous where it lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
court considers whether the complaint “fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted” under the
familiar guidelines of Rule 8. Under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” The complaint must demonstrate
more than just a possibility of wrongdoing; rather, “a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim for relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “[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 shown- that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Id. at 679. The court views the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and
it accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations as true.
Tackett v. M & G Polymers, USA, LLC, 561 F.3d
478, 488 (6th Cir. 2009). The court need not, however,
“accept as true legal conclusions or unwarranted
factual inferences.” Directv, Inc. v. Treesh,
487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007).
Plaintiff does not specifically cite 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in
her pleadings, the court properly construes her complaint as
a civil rights action under § 1983 because she alleges a
denial of her right to access the courts. See, e.g.,
Brown v. Mills, 639 F.3d 733, 734 (6th Cir. 2011).
To establish her claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
Plaintiff must prove “(1) the deprivation of a right
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States (2)
caused by a person acting under the color of state
law.” Sigley v. City of Parma Heights, 437
F.3d 527, 533 (6th Cir. 2006) (citing West v.
Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988)). ...