United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Honorable Janet T. Neff 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). 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.
Nathan Ward is presently incarcerated with the Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Lakeland Correctional
Facility (LCF) in Coldwater, Branch County, Michigan.
Plaintiff sues Wayne County and Oakland County, both of which
are in Michigan.
alleges that on September 30, 1988, June 24, 1991, and
February 8, 2000, Defendants “illegally”
prosecuted him, “wrongfully” convicted him, and
“illegally” incarcerated him. (Compl., ECF No. 1,
PageID.5.) He also claims that the sentencing courts
improperly relied upon an “erroneously
fabricated” conviction for carrying a concealed weapon
in 1979, which was used to sentence him as a habitual
offender and “falsely imprison” him for an
additional 10 years. (Id.)
to his MDOC profile, Plaintiff is serving a life sentence for
a 2008 conviction for first-degree murder. See
mdocNumber=132491 (visited August 1, 2019). His profile also
shows eight other sentences- imposed in 1972, 1979, 1988,
1991, and 2000-all of which are now inactive.
seeks damages for each day of his allegedly illegal
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).
Heck v. Humphrey
Supreme Court limited the availability of § 1983 actions
for prisoners in a series of cases, the most pertinent of
which is Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).
“Heck specifies that a prisoner cannot use
§ 1983 to obtain damages where success would
necessarily imply the unlawfulness of a (not previously
invalidated) conviction or sentence.” Wilkinson v.
Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81 (2005). “[I]n order to
recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or
imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid,
” a plaintiff proceeding under § 1983 must
“prove that the conviction or sentence has been
reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order,
declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such
determination, or called into question by a federal
court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.”
Heck, 512 U.S. at 486-87. In other words, “no
cause of action exists unless a conviction has been legally
eliminated.” Schilling v. White, 58 F.3d 1081,
1086 (6th Cir. 1995). This rule is known as the
“favorable termination” requirement. It follows
from the principle that “civil tort actions are not
appropriate vehicles for challenging the validity of
outstanding criminal judgments[.]” Heck, 512
U.S. at 486.
applies here because Plaintiff's claims challenge the
validity of several of his convictions and sentences. Success
in his action would “necessarily imply” that
those convictions and sentences are invalid. Plaintiff does
not allege that any of those convictions or sentences have
been reversed, expunged, or declared invalid. In other words,
he has not satisfied the favorable-termination requirement
for bringing a § 1983 action. See Goldman v.
Consumers Credit Union, No. 17-1700, 2018 WL 2089811, at
*3 (6th Cir. Feb. 14. ...