United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
J. QUIST, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by a pretrial 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. 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.
Joseph Malatamban Raab is presently detained at the Chippewa
County Jail where he is apparently awaiting trial on charges
related to the possession or manufacture of methamphetamine.
Plaintiff sues Chippewa County Deputy Sheriff Ryan Hering.
alleges that Defendant Hering pulled trash from garbage cans
at or near Plaintiff's residence. Plaintiff lived in an
apartment at 230 Ferris Street, Sault Ste Marie, Michigan.
Defendant pulled trash from garbage cans located at 230
Ferris Street and 232 Ferris Street. He then prepared a
“search warrant return and tabulation”
identifying items recovered from the trash cans, including a
can of Zippo lighter fuel, a can of butane fuel, a can of
oven cleaner, and several lithium batteries. (See
Tri-Dent Search Warrant Return & Tabulation, ECF No. 1-1,
PageID.20.) He later testified that he believed these items
could be used to make methamphetamine, but he acknowledged
that he did not know who the trash cans belonged to.
claims that Defendant “went out of his way to take what
he believed were meth components from a neighbor's trash,
explained to the court how you can make meth with these
components knowing you can't, then put them in the return
tabulation in the warrant to be used as evidence ag[a]inst us
in a trial.” (Compl., ECF No. 1-1, PageID.10.)
relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Failure to state a claim
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
alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-that the pleader
is entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)); see also Hill v.
Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding
that the Twombly/Iqbal plausibility standard applies
to dismissals of prisoner cases on initial review under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)).
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). Because § 1983 is a method for vindicating
federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself,
the first step in an action under § 1983 is to identify
the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed.
Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).
claim fails at the first step because he has not alleged a
violation of his constitutional rights. He has not identified
anything improper about Defendant's collection of
evidence from the trash cans or about Defendant's
statements and testimony. Plaintiff apparently disagrees with
Defendant's opinion that the components discovered can be
used to make methamphetamine, but that disagreement does not
give rise to a constitutional claim. Indeed, Plaintiff has
the opportunity to challenge Defendant's opinion at
also asserts that Defendant “planted” evidence,
but this assertion is wholly conclusory. Indeed,
Plaintiff's assertion appears to rest on the fact that
some of the evidence came from trash cans belonging to
Plaintiff's neighbor. But it is not clear why this
constitutes “planting” (i.e., manufacturing)
evidence against Plaintiff. According to the search warrant
return provided by Plaintiff, Defendant clearly indicated
that he obtained the evidence in question from 232 Ferris
Street, not 230 Ferris Street, where Plaintiff lived.
Plaintiff apparently disagrees with Defendant's
assumption that evidence from the trash cans belonging to
Plaintiff's neighbor counts as evidence against
Plaintiff, but that is ...