United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. Neff, United States District Judge.
a civil rights action brought by a federal prisoner under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and state law. 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.
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 against Defendants Kent County and
Yusef Lateef Phillips is presently incarcerated with the
Federal Bureau of Prisons at the Otisville Federal
Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York. Plaintiff
sues Kent County and the following employees of Kent County:
Sheriff Lawrence Stelma and Deputy Sheriff Andrew Hinds.
alleges that on the evening of September 3, 2017, he was
walking to his car from an apartment at Burton's Landing
Apartments in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was not aware that
federal authorities were executing a search warrant at that
location and were hidden in the shadows nearby. Plaintiff was
unarmed and his hands were in plain view. In one hand, he was
holding his car keys. Suddenly and without warning, Defendant
Hinds, who was assisting the federal officers, shot Plaintiff
in the chest with a rifle. Plaintiff fell to the ground, in
extreme pain and bleeding “profusely” from a hole
in his chest. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4.) Officers
handcuffed him and left him on the ground until an ambulance
arrived and took him to the hospital.
a state prosecutor investigated the shooting, determined that
Hinds' belief that Plaintiff posed a threat was
“clearly wrong, ” but decided not to prosecute
Hinds for a crime. (Id.)
survived the gunshot wound and is now serving a prison
sentence for possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug
trafficking, and conspiracy to possess with intent to
distribute and to distribute heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.
See United States v. Phillips, No. 1:17-cr-193-02
claims that Defendants are liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
because they used excessive force or were deliberately
indifferent to his safety, in violation of his rights under
the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the
Constitution. He also claims that Defendants, particularly
Defendants Kent County and Sheriff Stelma, are liable because
they failed to adequately train and supervise deputies
working for Kent County. He asserts that Kent County and
Sheriff Stelma were aware of other incidents of excessive
force by Kent County sheriff's deputies during searches
and arrests, yet they failed to adequately train and
supervise their employees. In addition, Defendants allegedly
failed to enact policies and procedures that would ensure
adequate training in the use of firearms, and to investigate
and discipline officers who do not abide by county policies.
further contends that Defendants are liable under state law
because they owed Plaintiff a duty of due care, but they were
negligent, grossly negligent, and/or recklessly indifferent
to his safety.
relief, Plaintiff seeks $10 million in compensatory and
punitive damages, as well as interest, costs, and attorney
fees, under 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
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 ...