United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. JONKER CHIEF 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
against Defendants Cass County and the Cass County Sheriff
is presently detained at the Cass County Jail. The events
about which he complains occurred during his arrest in Cass
County and his detention at the Cass County Jail. Plaintiff
sues Cass County, the Cass County Sheriff Department, and an
unknown Michigan State Police (MSP) trooper (Unknown Party).
alleges that, on May 1, 2017, he led a Cass County Deputy and
Defendant MSP trooper on a foot chase. Once he realized that
the deputy was going to catch him, Plaintiff laid down,
face-first, and interlocked his hands on his head, as
instructed by the deputy. As the deputy was cuffing
Plaintiff, Defendant MSP trooper arrived and jumped on
Plaintiff, driving his knee into Plaintiff's knee and
breaking it. While jumping on Plaintiff, Defendant trooper
yelled, “Quit resisting.” (Compl, ECF No. 1,
PageID.3.) Plaintiff states that he was not resisting, and he
claims that the deputy stated in his report that Plaintiff
did not resist. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant MSP trooper
maliciously intended to hurt Plaintiff because he was angry
about the foot chase.
Plaintiff arrived at the Cass County Jail, both he and the
deputy informed the booking officers that he had been injured
during the chase and arrest. The booking officers refused to
get medical attention for Plaintiff. Plaintiff claims that it
took him one week to get the jail nurse to perform x-rays,
which revealed a broken knee. Plaintiff contends that jail
personnel were deliberately indifferent to his serious
medical needs. Two years after the incident, Plaintiff
continues to suffer pain and cannot work. He has been forced
to take drugs for his pain and resulting depression.
Plaintiff alleges that he also experiences panic attacks when
he sees police officers and has nightmares.
seeks nominal and punitive damages.
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).
Cass County Sheriff Department & Cass County
sues the Cass County Sheriff Department. The sheriff
department does not exist as a separate legal entity; it is
simply an agent of the county. Vine v. Cnty. of
Ingham, 884 F.Supp. 1153, 1158 (W.D. Mich. 1995) (citing
Hughson v. Cnty. of Antrim, 707 F.Supp. 304, 306
(W.D. Mich. 1988) and Bayer v. Almstadt, 185 N.W.2d
40, 44 (Mich. Ct. App. 1970)). Accordingly, the Court will
dismiss Plaintiff's claim against the Cass County Sheriff
also sues Cass County. A local government such as a
muncipality or county “cannot be held liable solely
because it employs a tortfeasor-or, in other words, a
municipality cannot be held liable under § 1983 on a
respondeat superior theory.” Monell v. Dep't.
of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). Instead, a
municipality may only be liable under § 1983 when its
policy or custom causes the injury, regardless of the form of
relief sought by the plaintiff. Los Angeles Cty. v.
Humphries, 562 U.S. 29, 35-37 (2010) (citing
Monell, 436 U.S. at 694 (1974)). In a municipal
liability claim, the finding of a policy or custom is the
initial determination to be made. Doe v. Claiborne
Cty., 103 F.3d 495, 509 (6th Cir. 1996). The policy or
custom must be the moving force behind the constitutional
injury, and a plaintiff must identify the policy, connect the
policy to the governmental entity and show that the
particular injury was incurred because of the execution of
that policy. Turner v. City of Taylor, 412 F.3d 629,
639 (6th Cir. 2005); Alkire v. Irving,330 F.3d 802,