United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. QUIST, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by a pretrial detainee 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.
Chad Prince is presently detained at the Metropolitan
Correctional Center in Chicago, Illinois. However, the events
about which he complains occurred while he was detained at
the Van Buren County Jail in Paw Paw, Michigan. Plaintiff
sues the Van Buren County Jail.
alleges that he suffered two seizures while detained at the
Van Buren County Jail, and a nurse at the jail put him on
anti-seizure medication and a bottom-bunk restriction. For
three days, he was forced to sleep on the floor in the
booking department at the jail. After that, he was moved to
the general population unit and was told by jail officials to
sleep on a top bunk because there was no bottom bunk
available for him. He pushed the emergency button in his cell
to tell jail officials that he had been placed on a
bottom-bunk restriction for medical reasons. An officer told
him that the emergency button was for emergencies only and
that only top bunks were available.
sleeping on the top bunk, he had a seizure and fell onto the
floor, resulting in a head concussion, head wounds, and
severe back and body pain.
relief, Plaintiff seeks damages for treatment of future pain,
and an order requiring the Van Buren County Jail to
“enforce better policies of housing inmates with
medical needs to avoid future inc[i]dents that could easily
be avoided.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.5.)
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).
does not state a claim against the Van Buren County Jail
because the jail is a building; it is not a person or entity
capable of being sued.
Plaintiff meant to sue Van Buren County, he does not state a
claim for other reasons. A municipality like Van Buren County
may only be liable under § 1983 when its policy or
custom causes the injury, regardless of the form of relief
sought by the plaintiff. Los Angeles Cty. v.
Humphries, 562 U.S. 29, 35-37 (2010) (citing Monell
v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694
(1974)). In a municipal liability claim, the finding of a
policy or custom is the initial determination to be made.
Doe v. Claiborne Cty., 103 F.3d 495, 509 (6th Cir.
1996). The policy or custom must be the moving force behind
the constitutional injury, and the plaintiff must identify
the policy, connect the policy to the governmental entity and
show that the particular injury was incurred because of the
execution of that policy. Turner v. City of Taylor,
412 F.3d 629, 639 (6th Cir. 2005); Alkire v. Irving,
330 F.3d 802, 815 (6th Cir. 2003); Doe, 103 F.3d at
508-509. It is the court’s task to identify the
officials or governmental bodies which speak with final
policymaking authority for the local government in a
particular area or on a particular issue. McMillian v.
Monroe Cty., 520 U.S. 781, 784-85 (1997).
matters pertaining to the conditions of the jail and to the
operation of the deputies, the sheriff is the policymaker for
the county. Mich. Comp. Laws § 51.75 (sheriff has the
“charge and custody” of the jails in his county);
Mich. Comp. Laws § 51.281 (sheriff prescribes rules and
regulations for conduct of prisoners); Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 51.70 (sheriff may appoint deputies and revoke
appointments at any time); Kroes v. Smith, 540 F.
Supp. 1295, 1298 (E.D. Mich. 1982) (the sheriff of “a
given county is the only official with direct control over
the duties, responsibilities, and methods of operation of
deputy sheriffs” and thus, the sheriff
“establishes the policies and customs described in
Monell”). Thus, the court looks to ...