United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
WILLIE E. HARPER, JR., Plaintiff,
ARKESTEYN, ET AL., Defendants.
ORDER OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL
J. TARNOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
state prisoner Willie E. Harper, Jr., has filed a pro
se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He names five
Michigan Department of Corrections employees as defendants.
Plaintiff claims defendants improperly classified him as a
sex offender and transferred him to a different facility in
retaliation for the exercise of his First Amendment rights.
He seeks injunctive and monetary relief. The Court dismisses
Plaintiff's complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B), for failure to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted.
has been granted leave to proceed without prepayment of the
filing fee for this action due to his indigence. Under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the Court
is required to sua sponte dismiss an in forma
pauperis complaint before service on a defendant if it
determines that the action is frivolous or malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c); 28 U.S.C.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint set
forth “a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” as well as
“a demand for the relief sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), (3). The purpose of this rule is 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) and Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). While this notice pleading standard does not
require “detailed” factual allegations,
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, it does require more than
the bare assertion of legal conclusions or “an
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege
that: (1) he was deprived of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the federal Constitution or laws of the United
States, and (2) the deprivation was caused by a person acting
under color of state law. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436
U.S. 149, 155-57 (1978). A pro se civil rights
complaint is to be construed liberally. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
claims arise from his classification as a sex offender. In
April 2018, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Muskegon
Correctional Facility and classified as a sex offender. On
April 13, 2018, he filed a grievance against Defendants
Arkesteyn and Foster, mental health practitioners who
classified Plaintiff as a sex offender. Defendants Stevenson,
also a mental health practitioner, denied the grievance at
Step I. Defendant Tom Osier, assistant mental health service
director, denied the grievance at Step II, on May 28, 2018.
Plaintiff's grievance was also denied at Step III.
5, 2018, Plaintiff was transferred from the Muskegon
Correctional Facility to the Bellamy Creek Correctional
Facility, which houses the Michigan Sex Offender Program. On
November 4, 2018, he filed a grievance against Defendant
Thompson for labeling him a sex offender. The grievance was
denied at all three levels.
alleges that the defendants improperly classified him as a
sex offender, and that defendants Arkesteyn, Foster,
Stevenson, Egbuchulum, and Thompson transferred him to the
Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in retaliation for his
prisoner has no constitutional right to be held in a specific
security designation. Harris v. Truesdell, 79 Fed.
App'x 756, 759 (6th Cir. 2003), citing Moody v.
Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 88 n.9 (1976). Nor does a prisoner
have a constitutional right to be incarcerated at a
particular prison. Merchant v. Hawk-Sawyer, 37 Fed.
App'x 143, 145 (6th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff's claim
objecting to his classification as a sex offender, therefore,
does not allege the deprivation of a constitutional
also alleges that defendants Arkesteyn, Foster, Stevenson,
and Egbuchulum orchestrated his transfer to the Bellamy Creek
Correctional Facility in retaliation for the filing of
grievances. Under Sixth Circuit law, a retaliation claim has
three elements: “(1) the plaintiff engaged in protected
conduct; (2) an adverse action was taken against the
plaintiff that would deter a person of ordinary firmness from
continuing to engage in that conduct; and (3) there is a
causal connection between elements one and two - that is, the
adverse action was motivated at least in part by the
plaintiff's protected conduct.” Thaddeus-X v.
Blatter, 175 F.3d 378, 394 (6th Cir. 1999) (en banc).