United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J.R. PETTWAY, Plaintiff,
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER OF PARTIAL SUMMARY
H. CLELAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the court is Plaintiff J.R. Quinton Pettway Bey's pro
se civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. The court granted Plaintiff leave to proceed
without prepayment of the filing fee for this action. (ECF
No. 4.) Plaintiff, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at
the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility
(“JCF”) in Jackson, Michigan, sues the Michigan
Department of Corrections (“MDOC”), Corizon
Health Care Inc., and various employees of the MDOC, the
Charles Egeler Reception Guidance Center (“RGC”),
and the Duane Waters Hospital. Specifically, Plaintiff raises
claims arising from his exposure to mold while confined at
the RGC in August 2018, which he alleges have caused him
substantial lung and breathing problems. He also brings
claims for lack of proper medical care while confined at JCF
and the use of excessive force by a JCF corrections officer.
He sues the MDOC in its official capacity, certain defendants
in their individual capacities, and certain defendants in
both capacities. He seeks injunctive relief and monetary
damages. Having reviewed the complaint, the court concludes
that it must be dismissed in part based upon Eleventh
has been granted leave to proceed without prepaying the
filing fee in this action. Under the Prison Litigation Reform
Act (“PLRA”), the court is required to sua
sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint
before service if it determines that the action is frivolous
or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. See 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The court is
similarly required to dismiss a complaint seeking redress
against government entities, officers, and employees which it
finds to be frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief
from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). A complaint is frivolous if it
lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
se civil rights complaint must be liberally construed.
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
Nonetheless, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires
that a complaint set forth “a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,
” as well as “a demand for the relief
sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), (3). The purpose of this
rule is to “give the defendant fair notice of what the
. . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47
(1957) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). While notice pleading does
not require detailed factual allegations, it does require
more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Rule 8 “demands more
than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). “Factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in
fact).” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56 (citations
and footnote omitted).
state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must show
that: (1) the defendant is a person who acted under the color
of state or federal law, and (2) the defendant's conduct
deprived the plaintiff of a federal right, privilege, or
immunity. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149,
155-57 (1978); Harris v. Circleville, 583 F.3d 356,
364 (6th Cir. 2009).
complaint against certain defendants must be dismissed, in
part, based on immunity. Plaintiff sues the MDOC and several
MDOC defendants in their official capacities for monetary
damages. The Eleventh Amendment, however, bars civil rights
actions against a state and its agencies and departments
unless the state has waived its immunity and consented to
suit or Congress has abrogated that immunity. Will v.
Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66
(1989). “The state of Michigan . . . has not consented
to being sued in civil rights actions in the federal courts,
” Johnson v. Unknown Dellatifa, 357 F.3d 539,
545 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing Abick v. Michigan, 803
F.2d 874, 877 (6th Cir. 1986)), and Congress did not abrogate
state sovereign immunity when it passed § 1983. Chaz
Const., LLC v. Codell, 137 Fed.Appx. 735, 743 (6th Cir.
2005). Eleventh Amendment immunity “bars all suits,
whether for injunctive, declaratory or monetary relief
against a state and its agencies.” McCormick v.
Miami Univ., 693 F.3d 654, 661 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting
Thiokol Corp. v. Dep't of Treasury, 987 F.2d
376, 381 (6th Cir. 1993)). Additionally, Eleventh Amendment
immunity applies to state employees who are sued in their
official capacities. See Colvin v. Caruso, 605 F.3d
282, 289 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing Cady v. Arenac Co.,
574 F.3d 334, 344 (6th Cir. 2009)). Thus, Plaintiff's
claims for monetary damages against the MDOC and MDOC
employees sued in their official capacities must be dismissed
because these defendants are entitled to Eleventh Amendment
immunity. See Johnson, 357 F.3d at 545.
court finds that Plaintiff's claims against the
defendants concerning his exposure to mold and related lung
and breathing problems, lack of proper medical care, and the
use of excessive force by a corrections officer are not
otherwise subject to summary dismissal. While these claims
are sufficient to survive summary dismissal at the screening
stage, the court makes no finding as to the substance of
upon the foregoing discussion, the court concludes that the
MDOC and the defendants sued in their official capacities are
entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. The court will
dismiss with prejudice Plaintiff's claims for monetary
damages against those defendants pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2)(b) and 1915A. Plaintiff's claims
against the defendants concerning his exposure to mold,
related lung and breathing problems, lack of proper medical
care, and use of excessive force are not subject to summary
dismissal. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff's
claims against Defendant MDOC and against ...