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Elledge v. Meredith

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

July 8, 2019

CHRISTOPHER KIRK ELLEDGE, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD MEREDITH, CORPORAL BOWERS, AND CAPTAIN HARRIS, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL

          Victoria A. Roberts United States District Court Judge

         I. Introduction

         Christopher Kirk Elledge, who is presently confined at the Baraga Correctional Facility filed a pro se civil rights complaint. The complaint names three defendants, all of whom are employed by the Wayne County Sheriffs Department. For the reasons stated below, the Court summarily dismisses the complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b) with respect to defendants Bowers and Harris. The case may proceed against defendant Meredith.

         II. Standard of Review

          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 plaintiffs pro se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept plaintiffs allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 33 (1992).

         To 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). While a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, a plaintiffs allegations must include more than labels and conclusions. Bell Ail. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); 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.

         III. Complaint

         The complaint asserts that on April 25, 2017, when Plaintiff was being escorted from a courtroom back to the bullpen by defendant Meredith, Meredith directed him into an isolated area and "attacked [plaintiff] and beat [him] to the point that [he] was hospitalized at the Detroit Receiving Hospital for 3 days." Dkt. 1, at 5, 6-7, 15.

         The complaint also asserts that defendant Bowers failed to follow court protocol by accompanying Meredith while plaintiff was escorted to the bullpen. Finally, the complaint asserts that defendant Harris failed to "properly follow-up on complaint of plaintiff." Id.

         IV. Discussion

         A. Defendant Meredith

         Plaintiffs claim against defendant Meredith is straight-forward. He asserts that Meredith beat him without provocation or justification. In its prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishments," the Eighth Amendment prohibits the use excessive physical force against prisoners by state actors. See Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1 (1992); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). The complaint states an Eighth Amendment claim against defendant Meredith.

         B. Defendant Bowers

         Plaintiff claims that defendant Bowers failed to follow court policy by allowing Meredith to transfer plaintiff to the bullpen alone. A complaint must allege facts showing that each named defendant participated, condoned, encouraged, or knowingly acquiesced in the misconduct to establish liability. See Taylor v. Michigan Dep't of Corrections, 69 F.3d 716, 727-28 (6th Cir. 1995). The complaint does not assert that Bowers had any knowledge that Meredith would assault plaintiff or that he encouraged the assault in anyway. Furthermore, a respondeat superior theory of liability is not available in ...


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