United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern 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. §
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 Defendant Ryske.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility
(ARF) in Adrian, Michigan. At the time he filed this suit,
however, he was housed at the Ionia Correctional Facility
(ICF) in Ionia, Michigan. Plaintiff sues four persons
employed at ICF: Law Librarian Joseph Novak, Captain Kevin
Woods, Lieutenant Shawn Ryske, and Deputy Warden John
alleges that on March 27, 2016, he submitted a
complaining about Defendant Novak. Plaintiff claims that such
a kite is a necessary step in the grievance process.
Plaintiff alleges that Novak responded by issuing a
retaliatory threatening behavior misconduct report against
Petitioner. Plaintiff notes that the misconduct report was
quashed immediately upon review by Sergeant Kerr.
months later, Plaintiff sent Defendant Novak another kite
requesting that Novak stop: (1) falsely accusing Plaintiff of
failing to timely return library materials; and (2) other
types of misconduct that Novak had committed over the
previous several months. Novak responded by filing a
misconduct report charging Plaintiff with insolence.
Woods found Plaintiff guilty of the insolence charge. Woods
warned Plaintiff not to file any more such complaints against
Novak. Defendant Christiansen disregarded a petition to quash
the charge and denied Plaintiff's appeal of the
misconduct guilt determination.
filed a grievance against Woods and Novak based on the
allegedly retaliatory insolence misconduct finding. Defendant
Ryske responded to the grievance and, according to Plaintiff,
“repeated the threats.” (Compl., ECF No. 1,
PageID.5.) The only “threat” Plaintiff
identifies, however, is the warning that Plaintiff should not
file such complaints against Novak.
claims that Defendant Novak violated Plaintiff's First
Amendment rights by filing retaliatory false misconduct
reports in March and July, 2016. Plaintiff claims that Woods,
Ryske, and Christiansen acted in concert with Novak with
respect to the July misconduct charge. Plaintiff notes that
each Defendant participated in the adverse action.
seeks a declaratory ruling that Defendants violated
Plaintiff's rights. He also seeks several thousand
dollars from each Defendant in compensatory and punitive
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.'” Bell Atl. 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 plaintiff's 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. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(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. ...