United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
L. MALONEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner 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.
Antonio Mathews is presently incarcerated with the Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Earnest C. Brooks
Correctional Facility (LRF) in Muskegon Heights, Michigan.
The events about which he complains, however, occurred at the
Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF) in Manistee, Michigan.
Plaintiff sues the following MDOC employees at ECF:
Correctional Officer Unknown Gainer and Lieutenant Unknown
alleges he witnessed a fight between two prisoners in the ECF
prison yard on October 2, 2018. During the fight, he was
arrested and taken to segregation. Defendant Gainer allegedly
charged Plaintiff with a major misconduct, falsely accusing
Plaintiff of being involved in the fight. Defendant Clifford
allegedly “re-reviewed” the misconduct report but
“failed to do his job duty as a reviewing
officer.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.3.) As a result,
Plaintiff was placed in segregation for 56 days, and placed
on room restriction for 68 days. He lost his prison job, his
phone privileges, his yard privileges, and the ability to
participate in the “one day with God” program.
has attached a number of documents to the complaint that are
related to his misconduct proceedings, including the
following: the misconduct report, the misconduct hearing
report, Plaintiff's request for a rehearing, a response
to Plaintiff's request for a rehearing, and a misconduct
hearing report following a rehearing. (See ECF No.
1-1, PageID.10-18.) According to these documents, Officer
Gainer charged Plaintiff with assault and battery, and
Sergeant Mackey reviewed the misconduct report with
Plaintiff. (See id., PageID.10.) Lieutenant Clifford
provided a statement to the hearing investigator. Hearing
Officer Burke found Plaintiff guilty of the misconduct after
a hearing, citing video of the incident and other evidence,
but Plaintiff successfully appealed that decision. Hearings
Administrator Russell ordered a rehearing. Officer Pallas
held a rehearing on April 19, 2019, and dismissed the
misconduct charge against Plaintiff because the video of the
incident did not provide sufficient support for the charge.
contends that Defendants deprived him of liberty interests
without due process. He contends that there was insufficient
evidence to support the misconduct charge, but Defendants did
not follow state law, prison policy directives, or prison
handbooks regarding misconduct reports. If they had done so,
they would not have instigated the misconduct report or
allowed the misconduct charge to proceed based on
seeks compensatory damages for the loss of money he has
suffered due to the loss of his prison job, as well as
punitive damages from each defendant.
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).
contends that Defendants deprived him of liberty interests
without due process. The Fourteenth Amendment protects an
individual from deprivation of life, liberty or property,
without due process of law.” Bazetta v.
McGinnis, 430 F.3d 795, 801 (6th Cir. 2005). To
establish a Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process
violation, a plaintiff must show that one of these interests
is at stake. Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 221
(2005). Analysis of a procedural due process claim involves
two steps: “[T]he first asks whether there exists a
liberty or property interest which has been interfered with
by the State; the second examines whether the procedures
attendant upon that deprivation were constitutionally
sufficient.” Ky. Dep't of Corr. v.
Thompson, 490 U.S. 454, 460 (1989).
Supreme Court long has held that the Due Process Clause does
not protect every change in the conditions of confinement
having an impact on a prisoner. See Meachum v. Fano,
427 U.S. 215, 225 (1976). In Sandin v. Conner, 515
U.S. 472, 484 (1995), the Court set forth the standard for
determining when a state-created right creates a federally
cognizable liberty interest protected by the Due Process
Clause. According to that Court, a prisoner is entitled to
the protections of due process only when the sanction
“will inevitably affect the duration of his
sentence” or when a deprivation imposes an
“atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in
relation to the ...