United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
STEVEN K. BOU, Plaintiff,
CATHERINE BAUMAN, Defendant.
L. MALONEY 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.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility
(IBC) in Ionia, Michigan. The events about which he
complains, however, occurred at the Alger Correctional
Facility (LMF) in Munising, Michigan. Plaintiff sues LMF
Warden Catherine Bauman.
alleges that he worked as a porter at LMF. On November 30,
2018, while performing his porter duties, a rescue dog bit
him on his right knee. Plaintiff alleges that the bite was so
severe that a tendon popped out from behind his patella.
MDOC runs a Rescue Dog Training Program in the Level II
housing unit at LMF. See
7-119-6885413811385-5324--, 00.html (last visited April
11, 2019). Plaintiff alleges that another inmate and a
corrections officer had been previously bitten by the same
dog. Plaintiff claims that, because of the prior incidents,
the dog was ordered to wear a muzzle while in the inmate
population. Nonetheless, the dog was not wearing a muzzle
when it bit Plaintiff. He blames Defendant Bauman for his
injury because she “knew of this situation and did not
enforce the muzzle rule.” (Compl., ECF No. 1,
PageID.3.) Essentially, Plaintiff contends that because
Defendant Bauman is generally responsible for the safety and
security of the inmates, she is liable for his injury.
notes that Defendant Bauman came in the next day, Saturday,
to take the dog to be euthanized. Defendant Bauman, however,
failed to stop by Plaintiff's cell and apologize.
seeks $325, 000.00 in compensatory and punitive damages and
he wants his knee repaired.
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. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).
Plaintiff does not identify a specific constitutional right
violated by Defendant Bauman; however, his claim that she
failed to protect him from the dog, construed liberally,
sounds like an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate
indifference to Plaintiff's safety.
have a constitutionally protected right to personal safety
grounded in the Eighth Amendment. Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 833 (1994). Thus, prison staff are obliged
“to take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of
the inmates” in their care. Hudson v. Palmer,
468 U.S. 517, 526-27 (1984). To establish liability under the
Eighth Amendment, Plaintiff must show that Defendant acted
with “deliberate indifference” to a substantial
risk of harm to the prisoner. Farmer, 511 U.S. at
834. Deliberate indifference means that “the official
knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety; the official must both be aware of facts from which
the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of
serious harm exists, and he must also draw the
inference.” Id. at 837. The requirement for a