United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT
G. EDMUNDS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter has come before the Court on plaintiff Timothy Joseph
Walker‘s pro se civil rights complaint under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is confined at the Isabella
County Jail in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Defendant Sharrar is a
corrections officer at the jail.
Court understands the complaint to allege that, on April 4,
2019, Officer Sharrar found alcohol in a cell and questioned
everyone in Plaintiff's cell about the alcohol. Although
Plaintiff maintained his innocence, he and the other inmates
were placed in segregation. When one inmate accepted
responsibility for the alcohol, the inmates were released
from segregation for about forty-five minutes. However,
because the officers were not satisfied with what the inmate
had said, the inmates were once again placed in segregation.
Plaintiff suggested that the officer review surveillance
cameras, but Officer Sharrar proceeded to interrogate each
inmate to find the culprit. Eventually, Sharrar released
everyone except Plaintiff because one of the inmates had said
that the alcohol belonged to Plaintiff. Plaintiff was left in
segregation “for numerous hours, ” but when the
first-shift sergeant arrived, Plaintiff demanded that the
surveillance cameras be reviewed. Plaintiff subsequently was
determined to be innocent of prison misconduct.
complaint, Plaintiff asserts that his right to due process
was violated by the lack of a proper and fair investigation.
Plaintiff contends that, because officials ignored his
suggestion to view the surveillance cameras, he was
unnecessarily confined in segregation where he lost his
liberty, privileges, and quality of life. Plaintiff also
alleges that his confinement in segregation amounted to cruel
and unusual punishment because he was stripped of his
undergarments and forced to lie on a cold and filthy floor
even though he maintained his innocence. Finally, Plaintiff
alleges that the improper investigation placed him in
jeopardy of losing his freedom because possessing alcohol is
a violation of the conditions of probation and parole. He
sues Officer Sharrar in his personal and official capacity
for money damages.
the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, federal district
courts must screen an indigent prisoner's complaint and
dismiss the complaint if it 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).
The Due Process Claim
alleges that the incident on April 4, 2019, deprived him of
his liberty and due process of law. State action taken for a
punitive reason, however, does not necessarily encroach on a
liberty interest under the Due Process Clause. Sandin v.
Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995). Liberty interests
protected by the Due Process Clause generally are
“limited to freedom from restraint which . . . imposes
atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation
to the ordinary incidents of prison life.” Id.
(internal citations omitted).
placement in segregation and loss of privileges for a matter
of hours was not an atypical or significant hardship. See
Sandin, 515 U.S. at 486 (holding that the prisoner's
placement in segregated confinement for thirty days was not
“a major disruption in his environment” or
“the type of atypical, significant deprivation in which
a State might conceivably create a liberty interest”).
Therefore, Plaintiff was not deprived of a protected liberty
interest when he was placed in segregation, and the delay in
releasing him did not amount to a procedural due process
violation. Mackey v. Dyke, 111 F.3d 460, 463 (6th
Cir. 1997). Plaintiff's procedural due process argument
fails to state a plausible claim for relief under §
The Eighth Amendment Claim
also asserts that his confinement in segregation violated his
rights under the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits the
infliction of “cruel and unusual punishment.”
U.S. Const., amend VIII. Although the Eighth Amendment
applies only after a formal adjudication of guilt,
Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651, 671 n.40 (1977),
“[d]ue process requires that a ...