United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER DISMISSING COMPLAINT
A. GOLDSMITH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a pro se prisoner civil rights case. Lavern Bassler is
incarcerated at the Saginaw Correctional Facility in
Freeland, Michigan. The complaint names four defendants: (1)
Saginaw Correctional Facility, (2) Susan McCauley, (3)
“All Medical Staff, ” and (4) Deputy Warden Fuy.
complaint asserts that Defendants are being deliberately
indifferent to Bassler's arthritic hip condition by
failing to give him a bottom bunk assignment. Bassler seeks
declaratory relief and damages. For the reasons discussed
fully below, Bassler fails to satisfy the minimum pleading
requirements against any of the named defendants. The Court,
therefore, summarily dismisses the complaint.
STANDARD OF DECISION
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 Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). While this pleading
standard does not require “detailed” factual
allegations, id., it does require more than the bare
assertion of legal conclusions or “an unadorned,
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. “Nor does a complaint
suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of further
factual enhancement.” Id.
has been granted leave to proceed without prepayment of the
filing fee for this action due to his indigence. Under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the Court
is required to sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis
complaint before service on a defendant 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). Similarly, the court is required to dismiss a
complaint seeking redress against government entities,
officers, and employees that 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. Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege
that (i) he was deprived of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and
(ii) the deprivation was caused by a person acting under
color of state law. Flagg Bros., Inc. v. Brooks, 436
U.S. 149, 155-156 (1978). A pro se civil rights complaint is
to be construed liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520-521 (1972).
indicates that he has breathing problems and arthritis in his
hip. He asserts that he has been assigned a top bunk with no
ladder, and it is therefore difficult for him to get up and
down from bed without pain. He asserts that he has requested
reassignment to a bottom bunk without success. Attached to
the complaint are two communications in which Bassler
requested a follow-up appointment after having an x-ray
performed, and the responses indicate that Bassler has an
upcoming medical call-out scheduled. Bassler asserts that
Defendants have been deliberately indifferent to his medical
condition. He seeks a declaratory judgment and damages.
sues the Saginaw Correctional Facility and “All Medical
Staff, ” which the Court understands to refer to the
health care unit at the Saginaw Correctional Facility.
However, a state prison facility is not a person or legal
entity capable of being sued under § 1983. See
Parker v. Mich. Dep't of Corr., 65 Fed.Appx. 922,
923 (6th Cir. 2003); Ryan v. Corizon Health Care,
No. 13-525, 2013 WL 5786934, at *7 (W.D. Mich. Oct. 28, 2013)
(“[T]he individual prisons named as Defendants in this
action (ICF, IBC, LRF and RGC) are buildings used by the MDOC
to house prisoners. They are not the proper public entity for
suit.”); Poole v. Michigan Reformatory, No.
09-13093, 2009 WL 2960412, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 11, 2009)
(holding that prison facilities are not “persons”
or legal entities subject to suit under § 1983); see
also Belcher v. Ottawa County Adult Corr. Facility, No.
09-173, 2009 WL 1163412, at *2 (W.D. Mich. Apr. 28, 2009)
(“The Ottawa County Adult Correctional Facility is a
building, not an entity capable of being sued in its own
right.”). Nor is a unit or subdivision of a prison a
legal entity capable of being sued. See Connor v.
Hurley, No. 00-8354, 2004 WL 885828, at *3 (S.D.N.Y.
Apr. 26, 2004) (defendants identified as “Green Haven
Correctional Facility (Medical Staff)” and “Green
Haven Correctional Facility (Administration)” are not
persons subject to suit under § 1983).
complaint asserts that Deputy Warden Fuy allows the medical
staff to ignore medical needs at the facility. Compl. ¶
22 (Dkt. 1). Government officials may not be held liable for
the unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates under a
theory of respondeat superior or vicarious liability.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676; Monell v. New York City
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978);
Everson v. Leis, 556 F.3d 484, 495 (6th Cir. 2009).
A claimed constitutional violation must be based upon active
unconstitutional behavior. Grinter v. Knight, 532
F.3d 567, 575-76 (6th Cir. 2008). The acts of one's
subordinates are not enough, nor can supervisory liability be
based upon the mere failure to act. Grinter, 532
F.3d at 576. Accordingly, Bassler fails to state a claim