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Coakley v. Posey

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

September 13, 2019

TYWAUN COAKLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
DET. STEVE POSEY, DETROIT POLICE DEPARTMENT and CITY OF DETROIT, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL OF COMPLAINT (ECF NO. 1)

          Paul D. Borman United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Tywaun Coakley's pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is before the Court for initial screening following a grant of in forma pauperis status. (ECF No. 4.) Under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A and 1915(e), and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1), the Court is required to dismiss the case before service on defendants 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. Having made such a finding, the Court will dismiss the complaint.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff names as defendants Detective Steve Posey, the Detroit Police Department, and (in caption only) the City of Detroit, Michigan. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff's brief factual allegations address only Det. Posey's conduct and consist of the following:

In September 2016, Detective Posey did give sworn testimony that he knew to be false at a probable cause hearing against the Plaintiff in order to obtain a first degree murder indictment against the Plaintiff.
Detective Posey gave testimony that the Plaintiff did confess to the murder on paper and or video.
This testimony was found to be false.

(Compl. at 6, ECF No. 1, PageID 6.) Plaintiff's requested relief is for $1, 000, 000 plus costs for mental duress and recovery of legal fees and “lost of wages.” (Id. at 9.)

         II. Screening Procedure and Pleading Standards

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the Court is required to dismiss sua sponte an in forma pauperis complaint before service if it determines that the action 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. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b). When evaluating a complaint under that standard, courts “construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, and examine whether the complaint contains ‘sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Hill v. Snyder, 878 F.3d 193, 203 (6th Cir. 2017) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). A pro se civil rights complaint is to be construed liberally. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).

         A complaint must 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). “[D]etailed allegations” are not necessary, but under Rule 8(a) the pleading must “‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). This standard “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Iqbal, 566 U.S. at 677 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         To state a civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, “a plaintiff must set forth facts that, when construed favorably, establish (1) the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States (2) caused by a person acting under the color of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). A plaintiff must also allege “more than just mere negligence, ” Fisher v. City of Memphis, 234 F.3d 312, 317 (6th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted), and must establish the liability of each individual defendant by that person's own conduct. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676.

         Municipalities are ineligible for Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity Jinks v. Richland Cty., S.C., 538 U.S. 456, 466 (2003). However, “[a] municipality faces § 1983 liability only when its execution of a policy or custom is the ‘moving force' behind the constitutional violation.” Deruso v. City of Detroit, 121 Fed.Appx. 64, 65 (6th Cir. 2005) (citing Sova v. City of Mt. Pleasant, 142 F.3d 898, 904 (6th Cir. 1998)). And a city agency, such as its police department, is not a proper party in a section 1983 action; rather, the municipality itself is the “real party in interest.” Haverstick Enter., Inc. v. Fin. Fed. Credit, Inc., 32 F.3d 989, 992, n. 1 (6th Cir. 1994).

         III. ...


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