United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. Neff, United States District Judge.
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §
2000cc-1(a), and various state laws. Under the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat.
1321 (1996), 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 for failure to state a
claim Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC), because it is immune from
suit. The Court also will dismiss for failure to state a
claim Plaintiff's failure-to-train claim (Count VIII)
against Defendant Stump. Plaintiff's remaining claims
against Defendants Simmons, Hall, Stump, Rockwell, Coburn,
Hickok, and Wagner will remain in the case.
presently is incarcerated with the MDOC at the Lakeland
Correctional Facility (LCF) in Coldwater, Branch County,
Michigan. The events about which he complains, however,
occurred at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility (IBC) in
Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues the MDOC and
the following IBC officials: Correctional Officers Steven L.
Simmons, Michael Hall, Kevin Rockwell, Adam Coburn, (unknown)
Hickok, and (unknown) Wagner; and Sergeant Gary Stump.
alleges a series of actions by Defendants between June 2 and
August 12, 2015. Plaintiff asserts that the individual
Defendants harassed him on the basis of his Muslim religion;
barred him from praying in the small unit yard; retaliated
against him for complaining about their conduct by issuing
false misconducts and assaulting him; used excessive force
against him; and denied him necessary medical care. Plaintiff
contends that Defendants' actions violated the First,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments, the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. §
2000cc-1, and a variety of state laws.
amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that, as a devout
Muslim, he must pray five times each day at specified times.
On June 2, 2015, Plaintiff complained to Deputy McCauley (not
a Defendant) that Defendant Simmons was harassing and
taunting Muslim inmates and prohibiting prayer in the small
yard. McCauley indicated that he would talk to Simmons. On
June 24, 2015, Simmons issued misconduct tickets to Plaintiff
and three other Muslim prisoners for extending salaams to a
passing Muslim prisoner. Plaintiff complained to McCauley the
following day. Defendant Simmons then told Plaintiff,
“Your complaints to the deputy change nothing.
You'll pay for them.” (Proposed Am. Compl., ECF No.
August 12, 2015, Plaintiff was locked in the prison yard at
1:45 p.m., during shift change. The time came for Dhur
prayers, and Plaintiff and prisoner Douglas began their
prayers. The first-shift officer did not interfere with the
prayers. When Plaintiff finished praying with Douglas, he
assisted a new adherent, prisoner Richardson, with his
prayers. Defendant Simmons approached, shouting obscenities,
mocking, and harassing the prisoners. Plaintiff was on his
knees when, without warning, Defendant Stump snatched his arm
and twisted it. Defendant Hall sprayed Plaintiff's eyes
with a chemical agent. Defendants Rockwell and Wagner then
knocked Plaintiff to the ground, where Defendants Stump,
Rockwell, and Wagner kicked, struck, and kneed Plaintiff in
the neck. Plaintiff screamed and began to chant religious
remedies. The blows continued until Plaintiff was
unresponsive and nearly unconscious. Defendants Hickok and
Coburn observed and possibly participated. At a minimum,
Hickok and Coburn failed to intervene.
Hickok placed handcuffs on Plaintiff, securing them too
tightly and causing Plaintiff significant pain. Plaintiff
received lacerations to his wrist and numerous bruises to his
arms, back, wrist, and legs. During the assault, Defendant
Simmons aimed a taser at Plaintiff. At no time did Plaintiff
resist, threaten officers, or break prison rules.
contends that Defendants Simmons, Hall, Hickok, and Stump
repeatedly have engaged in harassment and abuse of Muslim
inmates. Plaintiff alleges that McCauley received notice of
the harassment of Defendants Simmons, Hall, Hickok, and
Stump, through numerous complaints, but he failed to take
disciplinary action. After the assault, Plaintiff was placed
in a shower area, but without access to water, so he could
not rinse the irritant from his eyes and lungs.
alleges that Defendants, though aware of Plaintiff's
injuries, provided him no medical assistance. Plaintiff also
alleges that Defendants subsequently took adverse actions
against Plaintiff-including writing false misconduct tickets
and cancelling Plaintiff's medical gym shoes and
inserts-in retaliation for his exercise of his speech and
religious rights and without due process of law.
contends that the individual Defendants' actions resulted
in the following federal and state causes of action: denial
of Plaintiff's First Amendment right to freely exercise
his religion; denial of Plaintiff's rights under the
RLUIPA; denial of equal protection; ethnic intimidation under
Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.146b; use of excessive force
under the Eighth Amendment; denial of medical care under the
Eighth Amendment; retaliation for the exercise of his First
Amendment rights to petition the government and to engage in
religious expression; and both negligent and intentional
infliction of emotional distress. He also contends that
Defendants MDOC and Stump failed to train and/or failed to
adopt adequate policies on the taking of property, the
conduct of hearings, and the prevention of retaliation.
seeks declaratory relief, together with compensatory and