United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. NEFF, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner proceeding
in forma pauperis. 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.
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 as frivolous because there is no
basis for federal jurisdiction on the face of the complaint.
Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Gus Harrison
Correctional Facility (ARF) in Adrian, Michigan. However, the
events about which he complains occurred in Lansing,
Michigan. Plaintiff sues Robert Jackson, a security guard who
works at the Social Security Administration (SSA) office in
Lansing, Michigan. Plaintiff also sues the SSA and
“whatever security company Robert Jackson works
for.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.1.)
alleges that he went to the SSA office in Lansing on April
20, 2018, to inform them that they were sending his benefits
to “direct express cards” that were not in his
possession. (Id., PageID.4.) He spoke with a woman
at the office and she handed him a form to sign. He refused
to sign the form and asked to speak with her supervisor. She
took the form out of his hand and closed the window to her
desk. As Plaintiff “was trying to ask her a few last
questions, ” Defendant Jackson allegedly pulled
Plaintiff from behind and “slammed” him to the
ground on his neck. (Id.) Plaintiff tried to escape,
but Jackson kept “punching [Plaintiff] back to the
floor.” (Id.) Plaintiff crawled backwards to
the door and then Jackson allegedly pulled out his night
stick and repeatedly struck Plaintiff in the head and on his
forearm. Plaintiff reached up to the door handles to pull
himself up, but Jackson allegedly grabbed Plaintiff's
legs, causing Plaintiff to land on his back and tailbone.
After Plaintiff escaped, he was taken to the hospital.
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages
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)).
does not identify the legal basis for his claims. Construing
the complaint generously, the Court can conceive of several
different possibilities; however, none of these possibilities
gives rise to a viable claim in this Court.
potentially states a claim against Defendant Jackson and/or
his employer under Michigan common law for assault, battery,
and false arrest. However, Plaintiff cannot bring such claims
in this Court because he has not alleged the requisite facts
for the Court to exercise jurisdiction over them.
courts have limited subject matter jurisdiction. Generally,
jurisdiction is available only when a “federal
question” is presented, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, or when
the plaintiff and defendant are of diverse citizenship and
the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000. 28 U.S.C. §
1332. State-law claims do not present a federal question, and
Plaintiff does not allege that he and Defendant Jackson and
Jackson's employer are citizens of different states.
Plaintiff cannot bring such claims against the SSA because it
is part of the federal government. The federal government
“is immune from suit save as it consents to be
sued.” United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S.
584, 586 (1941). As discussed in more detail in the next
section, the federal government has not consented to suit for
claims of assault, battery, and false arrest. Consequently,
the SSA is immune from suit for Plaintiff's state-law
claims. See Whittle v. United States, 7 F.3d 1259,
1262 (6th Cir. 1993) (affirming dismissal of suit against
federal agency because federal sovereign immunity