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Weakley v. Garrelts

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

July 19, 2019

KEVIN L. GARRELTS et al., Defendants.



         This is a civil rights action brought by a jail detainee 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 detained at the Cass County Jail, awaiting trial. Plaintiff sues the following employees of Cass County: Captain Kevin L. Garrelts; Undersheriff Clinton D. Roach; Sheriff Richard J. Behnke; and Registered Nurses Suesane (unknown) and (unknown) Salisbury.

         Plaintiff alleges that he has seizures from time to time due to a medical condition. He has been detained at the Cass County Jail since January 17, 2019. Within a few days after his arrival at the jail, he told a nurse at the nurse's station about his condition. Plaintiff claims that she was supposed to send out a medical release to obtain his medical records, but she did not do so until a few weeks later, after Plaintiff experienced his first seizure in the jail.

         On February 13, Plaintiff suffered a “grand mal” seizure in his cell. (See Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.5.) His bunkmate attempted to use the emergency call button to notify the guards, but the button did not work. The bunkmate was able to get guards' attention by kicking the door of the cell. After Plaintiff regained consciousness, a nurse checked Plaintiff's blood pressure at the nurse's station, determined that he was “fine, ” and sent him back to his cell. (Id.) Another nurse tried to obtain Plaintiff's medical records using the medical release, but was not successful.

         Sometime later, Plaintiff met with a doctor who tried to determine how Plaintiff had treated his condition before his detention. Plaintiff told the doctor that he used marijuana. Plaintiff alleges that he has had two more seizures since February 13, but jail staff have not given him any medication or other treatment for his condition.

         Plaintiff filed a grievance concerning his seizure(s). Defendant Garrelts held a hearing on the grievance and prepared a report containing “false” information. (Id., PageID.3.) Plaintiff told Garrelts that Officer Mollberg helped Plaintiff up off the floor after Plaintiff suffered a seizure, but Garrelts allegedly wrote in his report that Mollberg actually witnessed the seizure.

         Plaintiff apparently sues Defendants because he has not been given treatment for his condition. He also alleges that the conditions in the jail are unsafe for the following reasons: the jail does not have medical staff present for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; it is difficult to notify staff of a medical emergency, as there are three emergency call buttons in the cell block but none inside the cells; and there is insufficient monitoring of the cells, as the guards generally walk around the cell block about once an hour.

         In addition, Plaintiff claims that Defendants have deprived him of his right to a speedy trial because he has been held in jail for over 180 days for a crime he did not commit, without evidence that he committed the crime.

         As relief, Plaintiff apparently seeks an unspecified injunction. After noting the alleged deficiencies in medical staffing and in his ability to notify staff of emergencies, Plaintiff asks “to be taken care of.” (Id., PageID.7.) He does not indicate what this means.

         II. Failure to state a claim

         A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it fails “‘to give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's allegations must include more than labels and conclusions. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; 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. Although the plausibility standard is not equivalent to a “‘probability requirement,' . . . it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has ...

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