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Harris v. Unknown Stevenson

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

April 22, 2019

WILLIE J. HARRIS, Plaintiff,
UNKNOWN STEVENSON et al., Defendants.



         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 Defendant Unknown Parties.


         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 Carson City Correctional Facility (DRF) in Carson City, Montcalm County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues the following DRF officials: Prisoner Counselor (unknown) Stevenson; Resident Unit Manager (unknown) Anderson; Correctional Officers (unknown) Crater and (unknown) Copeland; Lieutenant (unknown) Walter; and the unknown Warden and Deputy Wardens (Unknown Parties).

         Plaintiff alleges that, on December 3, 2018, he sent a kite to Defendant Stevenson, asking to be moved, because his cellmate had been fighting with him and had attacked him from behind, resulting in scars to Plaintiff's back. On December 7, Plaintiff raised the issue with his mental health case worker, who spoke with Defendant Stevenson. On December 10, 2018, Defendant Stevenson called Plaintiff to his office to discuss the attack. Plaintiff asked to be placed in another cell because he was afraid for his life. Stevenson, however, told Plaintiff to fight back and his cellmate would leave him alone.

         Plaintiff fought back, but it only made things worse. Plaintiff sent a kite to the unknown warden and deputy warden, asking to be moved because of the fighting. No. action was taken in response to the kite. Plaintiff alleges that he continued to suffer assaults by his cellmate until December 14, 2018, when he again saw his mental health case worker and complained again about the situation. When he returned from his mental health appointment, Plaintiff was called to see Defendant Stevenson. Stevenson reported that he had talked to Plaintiff's cellmate, who acknowledged the fighting, but refused to move out of the cell, because he was there first. Plaintiff showed Stevenson his new scars from the assaults. Stevenson told Plaintiff, “RUM Anderson and me think that you just need to man up and stop being a pussy and do your time, I'm not going to move you anywhere.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4.) Plaintiff began to argue with Defendant Stevenson, eventually saying that Stevenson was biased and unfair, just like President Trump and Judge Maloney. Stevenson became very angry and called out that Plaintiff be taken to segregation.

         In segregation, Plaintiff asked what he was being charged with. The sergeant responded that the charge obviously was “threatening behavior.” (Id.) Plaintiff was asked to strip, but he refused, although he turned over a 5-inch knife that he had been keeping for self-protection. Plaintiff was then placed in an unheated cell for three days. Defendants Crater, Copeland, and Anderson repeatedly denied his requests to be moved to a heated cell, saying that Plaintiff should remember his treatment the next time he threatened Defendant Stevenson.

         In response to the harsh conditions, Plaintiff unsuccessfully attempted suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling ventilation system. Plaintiff felt despair and depression because, despite following instructions to report improper conditions, he was being deliberately ignored or treated worse.

         Plaintiff met with the Security Classification Committee (SCC) on December 19, 2018. He asked Defendants Anderson and the unknown warden and deputy wardens (Unknown Parties) why his cry for help had been ignored. Defendant Unknown Parties told him that he was not a priority and that perhaps he would have better luck in his Level-V placement, where the SCC was sending him.

         Rather than sending him to Level V, however, Plaintiff was placed in observation for several days, because of his suicide attempt. Once there, Defendants Walter, Crater, Anderson, and Copeland took away Plaintiff's suicide blanket, as punishment for attempting suicide. Plaintiff became so cold that he wrapped himself in the mattress cover. When Sergeant Fidler saw Plaintiff wrapped in the mattress cover, he asked Plaintiff why he had done that. Plaintiff explained that Defendants were retaliating against him. Fidler responded that Defendants should not have taken the blanket, and he forced Defendants to give the blanket back. Plaintiff, however, remained in the cell, forced to sleep on the cold floor with no mattress for three days. Plaintiff complains that Defendants' actions violated policy, amounted to extreme punishment, and were retaliatory.

         Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Copeland is a homosexual. Plaintiff therefore attempts to block the camera to keep Copeland from viewing Plaintiff while he is using the toilet. Defendant Copeland, however, orders Plaintiff to uncover the camera.

         Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, including being moved from the unit. He also seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

         II. Failure ...

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