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Williams v. Unnamed Correctional Officers

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

June 28, 2019




         I. Introduction

         On December 11, 2018, plaintiff Dwayne Demario Williams filed a pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and an application to proceed without prepaying the filing fee. See Compl., Docket No. 1, and Application, Docket No. 2. At the time, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Saginaw Correctional Facility in Freeland, Michigan.

         The only defendant named on the face of the complaint was the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan. Plaintiff alleged in his complaint that while he was confined at the Cotton Correctional Facility in 2017, twenty-five inmates brutally beat him. Plaintiff also alleged that correctional officers did not immediately stop the beating, the health-care staff at the prison did not send him to the hospital to check for brain damage, and he was not permitted to call his mother for about two weeks after the beating. Plaintiff sought monetary and injunctive relief for alleged violations of his constitutional rights. On February 19, 2019, Plaintiff notified the Court that he had been transferred to the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan. See Notice of Change of Address, Docket No. 8.

         On February 22, 2019, the Court entered an order in which it liberally construed the complaint to be seeking relief from the Michigan Department of Corrections, as well as, certain unnamed state officials, medical staff, and inmates at the Cotton Correctional Facility. The Court summarily dismissed the Department of Corrections, the Cotton Correctional Facility, and the following unnamed individuals at the Cotton Correctional Facility: the warden, the medical staff, and the inmates who allegedly beat Plaintiff. In the same order, the Court directed Plaintiff to identify the unnamed correctional officers who allegedly failed to protect him and prevented him from calling his mother after the beating in 2017. The Court warned Plaintiff that it could dismiss the entire complaint if Plaintiff did not comply the Court's order within forty-five days of the order. See Op. and Order, Docket No. 9.

         On March 20, 2019, the Court's order of partial dismissal was returned to the Court as undeliverable because Plaintiff's inmate number was not included in his address. See Mail Returned as Undeliverable, Docket No. 10. On the same day, the Court re-sent its previous order to Plaintiff at the Chippewa Facility with his inmate number included in the address. See Text-Only Certificate of Service, March 20, 2019.

         On April 16, 2019, the Court received a letter from Plaintiff in which he asks for guidance and help with his lawsuit. Plaintiff states in his letter that he is being treated unfairly by racist correctional officers and that certain correctional officers charged him in false or partially false prison misconduct reports. Plaintiff further alleges that the conditions at the Chippewa Facility are inhumane because inmates are forced to take cold showers and there are an inadequate number of working phones. See Letter, Docket No. 11.

         Attached to Plaintiff's letter are exhibits, and following the exhibits, is a page on which Plaintiff acknowledges receipt of the Court's order of partial dismissal in this case. He writes:

I did receive your Notice of Dismissal, and I assure you, I have no way to find out the officers' names, or the inmates' names because I keep to myself, and do not involve myself with them. I was only in that unit for a few weeks. My testimony and the pictures that w[ere] taken was all the proof I had.

Id. at 21, Page Id. 70.

         II. Discussion

         Plaintiff was permitted to file his complaint without prepaying the filing fee. See Order Waiving Prepayment of the Filing Fee, Docket No. 4. Because he is indigent, the Court is required to order service of the complaint by the United States Marshal, a deputy marshal, or someone appointed by the court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c)((3). Rule 4, however, provides that,

[i]f a defendant is not served within 90 days after the complaint is filed, the court - on motion or on its own after notice to the plaintiff - must dismiss the action without prejudice against that defendant or order that service be made within a specified time. But if the plaintiff shows good cause for the ...

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