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Jones v. Huss

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division

July 2, 2019

ERICA HUSS et al., Defendants.



         This is 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.


         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Marquette Branch Prison (MBP) in Marquette, Michigan. The events about which he complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues the following MBP employees: Warden Erica Huss, mailroom worker M. J. Dollar, Lieutenant D. Havenor, Grievance Coordinator Glenn Caron, Property Officer Unknown Royea, Corrrections Officer Unknown Ogle, Unknown Party #1 (Corrections Officer John/Jane Doe), and Prisoner Counselor K. Cody.

         Plaintiff's complaint covers events beginning in December of 2018 and ending in April of 2019. His claims fall into two categories-claims relating to Plaintiff's personal property and claims relating to Plaintiff's mail.

         With respect to Plaintiff's property, on December 28, 2018, because Plaintiff was placed on loss of privileges, his personal television was taken and he was provided a contraband removal slip. Then, on February 20, 2019, Plaintiff was placed in segregation. Several pieces of Plaintiff's personal property (headphones, tablet, USB cord, charger adapter, earbuds, religious and legal work, bowls, spork, tumbler, wavecap, toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush, lotions, soaps, and hairgrease) were not packed up or accounted for.

         For several days, Plaintiff sent kites to Defendant Royea regarding the missing property and the absence of a receipt for the property. Defendant Royea did not respond.

         On February 26, 2019, Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding the property and the absence of a receipt. On March 6, Defendant Havenor reviewed the grievance with Plaintiff. She “coerced” him into signing off on the grievance by promising she would track down his property and then attach a receipt to the Step 1 grievance response. Two days later, Plaintiff received the Step 1 response, but there was no receipt and no information regarding the property. Plaintiff claims that Defendants Ogle and Unknown Party failed to provide a property receipt or track down Plaintiff's television.

         On March 17, 2019, Plaintiff wrote a Step II appeal for his property grievance. Then, on April 10, 2019, Plaintiff sent a kite to Defendant Caron seeking a “loss, stolen, or damaged form.” Defendant Caron did not respond.

         With regard to his mail, Plaintiff raises two distinct claims. First, he complains that Defendant Dollar took too long to process his mail. He alleges that he received a letter from his grandmother dated January 4, 2019, during February of 2019. Then, on March 12, 2019, Plaintiff received two letters from his grandmother which she dated January 17, 2019, and February 26, 2019. Plaintiff filed a grievance against Defendant Dollar for delaying Plaintiff's incoming mail. The response to Plaintiff's grievance was a statement that all mail is processed within two days unless there is a mail rejection.

         Plaintiff's second mail claim relates to the rejection of his mail. On March 18, 2019, Plaintiff mailed document requests to the United States Copyright Office and the United States Trademark Office. Those agencies sent Plaintiff business booklets. The booklets were rejected because they related to the operation of a business. (Notice of Package/Mail Rejection, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.10, 12.) Mail for the purpose of operating a business enterprise in the facility is considered a possible threat to the security, good order, or discipline of the facility. (Id.) Plaintiff does not appear to dispute that the items were business booklets; rather, he claims he planned to use the business booklets as part of his rehabilitation.

         Plaintiff requested a hearing regarding the rejection. The hearing was conducted by Defendant Cody. Plaintiff claims the hearing was unfair. Plaintiff submitted an affidavit to Defendant Huss complaining of the rejection. (ECF No. 4.) She did not respond. Plaintiff alleges that he also filed a grievance regarding the matter. Plaintiff seeks damages and declaratory relief.

         II. Failure ...

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