United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. QUIST 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 Muskegon Correctional Facility
(MCF) in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan. The events
about which he complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff
sues MCF Correctional Officer (unknown) Brock.
alleges that, in December 2018, Defendant Brock threatened
Plaintiff, saying, “We gone kill you.” (Compl.,
ECF No. 1, PageID.3.) Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Brock
then waived his prison knife to indicate how he was going to
alleges that Defendant Brock did something similar shortly
before February 8, 2019, which prompted Plaintiff to talk to
Captain King on that date. Plaintiff filed a Step-I grievance
on February 20, 2019, which was rejected as untimely.
Plaintiff contends that his grievance was misunderstood and
improperly considered untimely. Plaintiff submitted a Step-II
grievance on February 22, 2019, disputing the reasoning of
the Step-I grievance. The Warden responded on February 27,
2019, affirming the Step-I rejection. Plaintiff submitted a
Step-III grievance, which was denied on March 12, 2019.
asserts that Defendant Brock's threats violated
Plaintiff's rights under the Eighth Amendment. He
contends that he has been experiencing paranoia, mental
distress, and psychological distress, and he states that he
has been seeing the psychological provider for treatment and
seeks injunctive relief, together with compensatory and
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).
Eighth Amendment imposes a constitutional limitation on the
power of the states to punish those convicted of crimes.
Punishment may not be “barbarous” nor may it
contravene society's “evolving standards of
decency.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337,
345- 46 (1981). The Amendment, therefore, prohibits conduct
by prison officials that involves the “unnecessary and
wanton infliction of pain.” Ivey v. Wilson,
832 F.2d 950, 954 (6th Cir. 1987) (per curiam) (quoting
Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 346). The deprivation alleged
must result in the denial of the “minimal civilized
measure of life's necessities.” Rhodes,
452 U.S. at 347; see also Wilson v. Yaklich, 148
F.3d 596, 600-01 (6th Cir. 1998). The Eighth Amendment is
only concerned with “deprivations of essential food,
medical care, or sanitation” or “other conditions
intolerable for prison confinement.” Rhodes,
452 U.S. at 348 (citation omitted). Moreover, “[n]ot
every unpleasant experience a prisoner might endure while
incarcerated constitutes cruel and unusual punishment within
the meaning of the Eighth Amendment.” Ivey,
832 F.2d at 954.
of verbal harassment or threats by prison officials toward an
inmate do not constitute punishment within the meaning of the
Eighth Amendment. Pasley v. Conerly, 345 Fed.Appx.
981, 984 (6th Cir. 2009); Jones Bey v. Johnson, 248
Fed.Appx. 675, 677-78 (6th Cir. 2007) (no Eighth Amendment
claim for prison guard's “use of racial slurs and
other derogatory language”); Miller v.
Wertanen, 109 Fed.Appx. 64, 65 (6th Cir. 2004) (a
guard's verbal threat to sexually assault an inmate
“was not punishment that violated [the prisoner's]
constitutional rights”); Ivey, 832 F.2d at
955. Nor do allegations of verbal harassment rise to the
level of unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain proscribed
by the Eighth Amendment. Ivey, 832 F.2d at 955. ...