United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER OF PARTIAL SUMMARY DISMISSAL AND DIRECTING
PLAINTIFF TO COMPLETE SERVICE DOCUMENTS AND FOR SERVICE OF
PROCESS BY THE U.S. MARSHAL
M. LAWSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
February 7, 2019, plaintiff Alvin Frazier, a state prisoner
at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson,
Michigan, filed a pro se civil rights action under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and application to proceed without
prepaying the fees and costs for this action. The thirty-five
defendants named in the caption to the complaint are several
employees of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC).
In his complaint and attached exhibits, the plaintiff alleges
that these defendants have retaliated against him for
pursuing legal redress of other civil rights violations.
However, the plaintiff has failed to allege personal
involvement on the part of many of the defendants and
otherwise has failed to state a plausible claim against all
but two of the defendants. The complaint therefore will be
dismissed in part.
was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to prison
for 15 to 30 years on July 16, 2008. The complaint and
attached exhibits recite that in 2017, the plaintiff filed a
lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western
District of Michigan against three MDOC facilities - Chippewa
Correctional Facility, Marquette Branch Prison, and Kinross
Correctional Facility - alleging that as a result of the
MDOC's failure to protect him from the family of his
victim, he was assaulted and stabbed several times. Frazier
presently alleges that MDOC staff at his current facility
since have engaged in a variety of retaliatory actions. He
says that he wrongfully was cited with a misconduct ticket
after a fight with another prisoner, asserting that the
subsequent investigation into that fight was unfair and
biased, and that he was denied a favored job within the
facility's kitchen based on his race, as well as access
to his assigned psychologist. The complaint also includes
allegations that personnel have disregarded the rules related
to the handling of “legal” mail and that Frazier
feels compelled to stand mute as to any other grievances.
seeks a declaration that the defendants' conduct violates
his Eighth Amendment right not to be subjected to cruel and
unusual punishment and other constitutional rights not
specifically enumerated, as well as money damages and an
injunction ordering the defendants to cease any further
retaliatory action against him.
plaintiff has asked the Court to waive fees and costs because
he cannot afford to pay them, the Court has an obligation to
screen the case for merit and dismiss the case if it
“(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). In addition,
Congress mandated in the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA)
that district courts screen for colorable merit every
prisoner complaint filed against a state or governmental
entity. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) (“The court shall
review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as
soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil
action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
entity or officer or employee of a governmental
complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law
or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989); see also Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
32 (1992). “A complaint lacks an arguable basis in law
or fact if it . . . is based on legal theories that are
indisputably meritless.” Brown v. Bargery, 207
F.3d 863, 866 (6th Cir. 2000) (citing Neitzke, 490
U.S. at 327-28). Dismissal on the Court's initiative is
appropriate if the complaint lacks an arguable basis when
filed. Goodell v. Anthony, 157 F.Supp.2d 796, 799
(E.D. Mich. 2001).
a pro se litigant's complaint must be construed
liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007), “[t]he leniency granted to pro se [litigants] .
. . is not boundless.” Martin v. Overton, 391
F.3d 710, 714 (6th Cir. 2004). The screening mandated by
Congress in section 1915(e)(2) includes the obligation to
dismiss civil complaints filed by prospective pro se
filers if they “fail to state a claim on which relief
may be granted.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii);
McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 604 (6th Cir.
1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock,
549 U.S. 199 (2007).
avoid dismissal, a complaint must include “enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “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.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “To
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
set forth facts that, when construed favorably, establish (1)
the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or
laws of the United States (2) caused by a person acting under
the color of state law.” Dominguez v. Corr. Med.
Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Sigley v. City of Parma Heights, 437 F.3d 527, 533
(6th Cir. 2006)).
thirty-five individuals named as defendants, the body of the
complaint does not contain any allegations with respect to
four of them: Jane Doe, Richard Russell, Carina Blair, and
Brian Johnson. Under section 1983, a person may file a
“[p]ersonal-capacity suit” seeking “to
impose personal liability upon a [state actor] for actions he
takes under color of state law.” Kentucky v.
Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 (1985). To support such a
claim, the plaintiff “must plead that each [state
actor] defendant, through the [person]'s own individual
actions, has violated the Constitution.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009). Because he failed
to allege any facts that these defendants had any involvement
in the events described in the complaint, the plaintiff has
not stated a section 1983 claim against them. Potter v.
Clark, 497 F.2d 1206, 1207 (7th Cir. 1974) (holding that
“[w]here a complaint alleges no specific act or conduct
on the part of the defendant and the complaint is silent as
to the defendant except for his name appearing in the
caption, the complaint is properly dismissed. . . .”).
the complaint alleges that the plaintiff discussed the
alleged misconduct with defendants Unknown Morey, Unknown
Jones, Unknown Ganaway, Unknown Barnes, Unknown Fields,
Unknown Klotz, Unknown Lamb, Unknown Snyder, Unknown Farhat,
and Unknown Savickey. But because there are no allegations
that these defendants personally ...