United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ALVIN D. FRAZIER, #379628, Plaintiff,
GLEN A. LINSLEY, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING THE CIVIL RIGHTS
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
a pro se civil rights case brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Michigan prisoner Alvin D. Frazier
("Plaintiff) raises claims arising from his vision care
while confined at the Cotton Correctional Facility
("JCF") in 2018. He alleges violations of his
Eighth Amendment, First Amendment, due process, and equal
protection rights. In particular, he complains that he was
not given new glasses despite a change in his vision and that
he was not given tinted glasses/solar shields to protect his
vision. Plaintiff names Dr. Glen A. Linsley, JCF, Corizon,
Nurse Laura P. Davenport, Renyu Xue, Student Dr. Nathan C.
Traxler, Nurse Practitioner Kristin A. Austin, Nurse Abigail
Burk, Nurse Michelle Couling, and JCF Healthcare
Staff/Corizon Healthcare Providers as the defendants in this
action. He sues the defendants in their official and personal
capacities and seeks monetary damages and other appropriate
relief. The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed
without prepayment of the fees for this action. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1).
the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 ("PLRA"),
the Court is required to sua sponte dismiss an in forma
pauperis complaint before service 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. § l997e(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).
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) (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957) and Fed. R Civ. P.
8(a)(2)). While such notice pleading does not require
detailed factual allegations, it does require more than the
bare assertion of legal 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 claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege that (1) he 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). A pro se
civil rights complaint is to be construed liberally.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). Even
under this liberal pleading standard, the Court finds that
the civil rights complaint is subject to dismissal.
Plaintiffs claims against JCF and JCF Healthcare
Staff/Corizon Healthcare Providers (to the extent identified
as a department and not the individually-named defendants)
must be dismissed. A prison facility or department is not a
"person" or legal entity subject to suit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. See Anderson v. Morgan Cnty. Corr.
Complex, No. 15-6344, 2016 WL 9402910, *1 (6th Cir. Sep.
21, 2016) (ruling that a state prison and its "medical
staff were not subject to suit under § 1983); Brooks
v. Huron Valley Men's Prison, No. 2:06-CV-12687,
2006 WL 2423106, *1 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 21, 2006) (citing cases
establishing that a prison building is not a
"person" subject to suit under § 1983);
accord Eads v. Tennessee, No. 1:18-cv-00042, 2018 WL
4283030, *13 (M.D. Tenn. Sept. 7, 2018); Murray v. Ohio
Dep't of Corrections, No. 1-14-cv-168, 2014 WL
1382401, *3 (S.D. Ohio April 8, 2014); Solomon v.
Clark, No. 1:13-cv-470, 2013 WL 5522222, *7 n. 6 (W.D.
Mich. Oct. 6, 2013). Plaintiffs claims against JCF and JCF
Healthcare Staff/Corizon Healthcare Providers must,
therefore, be dismissed.
Plaintiffs claims against defendants Corizon, Davenport,
Austin, and Couling must be dismissed because Plaintiff fails
to allege facts demonstrating the personal involvement of
those defendants in unconstitutional conduct related to his
vision care and the events giving rise to the complaint. It
is well-settled that a civil rights plaintiff must allege the
personal involvement of a defendant to state a claim under
§ 1983 - and that liability cannot be based upon
supervisory liability. See Monell v. Department of Social
Svs., 436 U.S. 658, 691-92 (1978) (Section 1983
liability cannot be based upon a theory of respondeat
superior or vicarious liability); Everson v. Leis,
556 F.3d 484, 495 (6th Cir. 2009) (same); see also Taylor
v. Michigan Dep't of Corrections, 69 F.3d 76, 81
(6th Cir. 1995) (plaintiff must allege facts showing that the
defendant participated, condoned, encouraged, or knowingly
acquiesced in misconduct to establish liability).
assertion that the above-named defendants (or any other
defendant) failed to supervise an employee, should be
vicariously liable for another's conduct, erred in
processing paperwork or denying grievances, and/or did not
sufficiently respond to the situation are insufficient to
state a claim under § 1983. See, e.g., Shehee v.
Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999); see
also Martin v. Harvey, 14 Fed.Appx. 307, 309 (6th Cir.
2001). Plaintiff also does not allege facts showing that any
injury he suffered is the result of a policy or regulation,
or that any improper conduct arose from the deliberate
failure to adequately investigate, train, or supervise
employees. See Ellis v. Cleveland Mun. Sch. Dist.,
455 F.3d 690, 700 (6th Cir. 2006) (setting forth three-part
test for such claims). Plaintiff thus fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted under § 1983 against
defendants Corizon, Davenport, Austin, and Couling.
to the extent that Plaintiff asserts that defendant Couling
or any other defendant violated his constitutional rights by
denying his grievances, he fails to state a claim for relief.
The First Amendment guarantees "the right of the people
... to petition the Government for a redress of
grievances." U.S. Const, amend. I. While a prisoner has
a First Amendment right to file grievances against prison
officials, Herron v. Harrison, 203 F.3d 410, 415
(6th Cir. 2000), the First Amendment does not impose an
affirmative obligation on the government to consider, respond
to, or grant any relief on a petition for redress of
grievances. Smith v. Arkansas State Hwy. Employees, Local
1315, 441 U.S. 463, 464-65 (1979); Apple v.
Glenn, 183 F.3d 477, 479 (6th Cir. 1999) ("A
citizen's right to petition the government does not
guarantee a response to the petition or the right to compel
government officials to act on or adopt a citizen's
views."). An inmate does not have a constitutionally
protected interest in a jail or prison grievance procedure or
the right to an effective procedure. Walker v. Michigan
Dep't of Corrections, 128 Fed.Appx. 441, 445 (6th
Cir. 2005); Argue v. Hofmeyer, 80 Fed.Appx. 427, 430
(6th Cir. 2003) (citing cases). To the extent that Plaintiff
is dissatisfied with the investigation of his complaints and
the responses to his grievances, he fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted in his complaint. See
Carlton v. Jondreau, 76 Fed.Appx. 642, 644 (6th Cir.
2003); Proctor v. Applegate, 661 F.Supp.2d 743,
766-67 (E.D. Mich. 2009) (Borman, J., adopting magistrate
Plaintiff fails to allege sufficient facts to state an Eighth
Amendment claim in his complaint. Plaintiff asserts that the
defendants, particularly defendants Glen Linsley, Renyu Xue,
Nathan Traxler, and Abigail Burk, failed to provide him with
proper vision care in 2018 - namely by failing to provide him
with updated prescription glasses and/or tinted lenses/solar
shields. The United States Supreme Court has held that
"deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of
prisoners constitutes the unnecessary and wanton infliction
of pain proscribed by the Eighth Amendment." Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). The deliberate
indifference standard requires a prisoner plaintiff to show
that prison official defendants acted with a reckless
disregard of a known risk of serious harm to the prisoner.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 836 (1994). A
plaintiff may establish deliberate indifference by a showing
of grossly inadequate medical care. Terrance v.
Northville Regional Psychiatric Hosp., 286 F.3d 834, 843
(6th Cir. 2002).
makes no such showing here. He admits that he received vision
care during the relevant time period, including eye exams and
recommendations for treatment of his diabetes, which doctors
believed was the cause of some of his vision problems. When
there is an ongoing pattern of treatment, a prisoner's
constitutional rights are generally not infringed. See,
e.g., Pate-El v. Gluch, 848 F.2d 193 (Table), 1988 WL
49054, *1 (6th Cir. 1988); accord Huff v. Manfredi,
504 Fed.Appx. 342, 345 (5th Cir. 2012); Ali v.
Howard, 353 Fed.Appx. 667, 671 (3d Cir. 2009). Plaintiff
alleges no facts which show that the defendants ignored his
problems, acted with deliberate indifference, or
intentionally caused him injury or pain with respect to his
Plaintiff may disagree with the course of treatment provided
and believe that he should have been given updated glasses or
tinted lenses/solar shields during the relevant time period,
he fails to show that the defendants acted
unconstitutionally. See Jennings v. Al-Dabagh, 97
Fed.Appx. 548, 550 (6th Cir. 2004) (prisoner's personal
opinion that his care was substandard or that he was not
given treatment he requested raises a claim of state law
medical malpractice, not constitutionally defective medical
care); Owens v. Hutchinson,79 Fed.Appx. 159, 161
(6th Cir. 2003). The Supreme Court has ruled that decisions
about whether to order additional diagnostic tests or to
provide certain treatments are classic examples of the
exercise of medical judgment and do not constitute cruel and
unusual punishment. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 107.
Additionally, it is well-settled that claims of negligence
concerning a prisoner's medical treatment, i.e.
medical malpractice, are not cognizable in a civil rights
action under § 1983. Id. at 106; see also
Lewellen v. Metro. Gov't. of Nashville & Davidson
Co., Tenn.,34 F.3d 345, 348 (6th Cir. 1994) (an
"injury caused by negligence does not constitute a