United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
AND ORDER DISMISSING DEFENDANT WASHINGTON, DENYING THE MOTION
FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION , DENYING THE REQUEST TO
CERTIFY A CLASS ACTION , DENYING THE REQUEST FOR A
DECLARATORY RULING , AND DENYING THE REQUEST TO FILE A
CARAM STEEH, JUDGE
matter has come before the Court on Michael Mohammed
Salami's pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc-1, and the Religious Freedom
Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb, et seq.
Plaintiff is a Muslim and state prisoner at the Saginaw
Correctional Facility in Freeland, Michigan. The defendants
are: Michael Eagen, Chairman of the Michigan Parole Board;
Sonia Warchok and Anthony King, two members of the Michigan
Parole Board; Gwendylyn Warren, a therapist employed by the
Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC); and Heidi
Washington, Director of the MDOC. Plaintiff sues the
defendants in their personal capacities for money damages, a
declaratory judgment, and injunctive relief.
alleges in his complaint that, from May 3, 2018, to December
7, 2018, defendant Eagen forced him to participate in
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) at the
Detroit Re-Entry Center, which is a programing center for
parolees. As part of the programming, Plaintiff was required
to engage in prayer, listen to religious speeches, and use
materials that contain references to the serenity prayer,
God, and spirituality. Defendant Warren, moreover, allegedly
forced Plaintiff to consent to treatment, to listen to her
religious speeches, and to say serenity prayers. Plaintiff
states that, as a Muslim, he may only pray to Allah, and
Warren refused to allow him to make Wudu or to pray in an
further alleges that defendants Warchok and King gave him a
twelve-month “flop” and wrote frivolous
misconduct tickets about him to discredit him. Plaintiff
contends that Eagen suspended his parole because Plaintiff
asked the Parole Board for a secular, alternative program to
the “higher power” programs such as AA and NA.
Plaintiff blames defendant Washington for failing to create
an alternative program and for allowing the defendants'
illegal conduct to occur.
Court granted Plaintiff permission to proceed without
prepaying the fees and costs for this action. See
ECF No. 11. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996,
federal district courts must screen an indigent
prisoner's complaint and dismiss a complaint, or any
portion of it, that is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a
claim for which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A; 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c)(1); Flanory v. Bonn, 604 F.3d 249, 252 (6th
Cir. 2010); Smith v. Campbell, 250 F.3d 1032, 1036
(6th Cir. 2001). A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an
arguable basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). “A complaint
is subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim if the
allegations, taken as true, show the plaintiff is not
entitled to relief.” Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S.
199, 215 (2007).
a complaint “does not need detailed factual
allegations, ” the “[f]actual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level
on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint
are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (footnote and
citations omitted). In other words, “a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
‘to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting 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.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Defendant Heidi Washington
noted above, Plaintiff sues the defendants in their personal
capacities. See Compl., ECF No. 1, p. 4, PageID.4.
“Personal-capacity suits seek to impose personal
liability upon a government official for actions he [or she]
takes under color of state law.” Kentucky v.
Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165 (1985) (alteration added). An
individual is personally liable when “the official,
acting under color of state law, caused the deprivation of a
federal right.” Id. at 166. Nevertheless,
“[p]ersonal capacity suits for damages require personal
involvement and cannot be based on respondeat
superior.” Harrington v. Grayson, 764
F.Supp. 464, 476 (E.D. Mich. 1991) (citing Risso v.
Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371-73 (1976)).
attempts to hold defendant Washington liable for failing to
create an alternative program to AA and NA and for refusing
to do anything about the defendants' allegedly illegal
behavior. The complaint, however, fails to indicate that
Washington was personally involved in requiring parolees to
participate in AA and NA, and she cannot be held liable on a
theory of vicarious liability for failing to properly
supervise the other defendants, because vicarious liability
is not applicable in § 1983 lawsuits. Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 676. Accordingly, the Court summarily dismisses
defendant Washington from this lawsuit.
The Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and Protective
document filed as a “Motion for Preliminary Injunction
and Protection Order, ” Plaintiff alleges that, on June
6, 2019, the librarian at the Saginaw Correctional Facility
refused to make photocopies for him. According to Plaintiff,
the librarian also refused to provide Plaintiff with free
paper, pens, and carbon paper even though Plaintiff is
indigent. Plaintiff asserts that, pursuant to a prison policy
directive, he is entitled to the items which he requested,