United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. Neff, United States District Judge
a civil rights action brought by a county jail inmate 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 serving a sentence in the Cass County Jail.
Based on the records of the Cass County Circuit Court, it
appears he is jailed following his guilty plea to one count
of receiving and concealing stolen property. He sues Cass
County Sheriff Richard Behnke, Sergeant Tim Smith, and Cass
alleges that during the first several months of his stay at
the jail he was employed as an inmate worker. He claims that,
because of his work, he was entitled to a 31-day sentence
claims that Defendant Smith threatened to fire him several
times. On March 17, 2019, Smith actually fired Plaintiff for
allegedly passing a note. Plaintiff denies that he passed a
note. Plaintiff was removed from inmate worker status, moved
to a non-worker dormitory, and was informed that he had
forfeited the 31-day reduction of his sentence. Plaintiff
claims it is Sheriff Behnke's rule that such forfeitures
occur without a hearing.
contends that the loss of his 31-day sentence reduction
without a hearing violated his constitutional rights. He
notes further that he has attempted to conduct legal research
to support his claim, but that his requests to access legal
research materials have been denied.
asks the Court to order Defendants to restore Plaintiff's
inmate worker status and the corresponding 31-day sentence
reduction. He also asks the Court to order Defendants to
create a law library or provide inmates access to an online
legal research resource. Finally, Plaintiff seeks $166,
500.00 in 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)).
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).
Due Process Violation
claim that he was removed from inmate worker status and
caused to forfeit his 31-day sentence reduction without a
hearing is a claim that he was denied his due process rights
in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fourteenth
Amendment protects an individual from deprivation of life,
liberty or property, without due process of law.”
Bazetta v. McGinnis, 430 F.3d 795, 801 (6th Cir.
2005). To establish a Fourteenth Amendment procedural due
process violation, a plaintiff must show that one of these
interests is at stake. Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S.
209, 221 (2005). Analysis of a procedural due process claim
involves two steps: “[T]he first asks whether there
exists a liberty or property interest which has been