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Naseman v. Kim

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

September 23, 2019

PAUL NASEMAN, Plaintiff,
DOOHAK KIM et al., Defendants.



         This is 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.


         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the St. Louis Correctional Facility (SLF) in St. Louis, Gratiot County, Michigan. The events about which he complains occurred at that facility, as well as at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility (IBC) and the Ionia Correctional Facility (ICF) in Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan, and the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility (ARF) in Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan.

         Plaintiff sues Dentists Dr. Doohak Kim, Dr. Unknown Choi, Dr. Unknown Sanders, E. Cook, and Dr. Unknown Hardy. Plaintiff also sues IBC Warden Unknown Trierweiler, ICF Warden Unknown Stewart, ARF Warden Unknown Campbell, SLF Warden Unknown Vashaw, and MDOC Director Heidi E. Washington.

         Plaintiff alleges that in 2017, Defendant Kim, who was the dentist at IBC, gave Plaintiff no choice but to have all his teeth pulled and to get dentures. Defendant Kim made impressions of Plaintiff’s mouth and created a wax mold. Plaintiff complains that the mold showed a huge under bite, which did not accurately reflect the condition of Plaintiff’s mouth. Thereafter, Defendant Kim added approximately 0.25 inch of wax to the upper plate so that the upper teeth would match the under bite. Plaintiff states that this caused both the upper and the lower dentures to be incorrect. The upper was realigned, and Plaintiff was forced to take the upper and the unfitted lower back to his cell. The lower portion of Plaintiff’s dentures broke because it did not fit properly.

         Plaintiff saw Defendant Choi at IBC. Defendant Choi agreed that Plaintiff’s dentures did not fit properly and ordered that the lower portion be fixed and that new impressions be made. Plaintiff was then transferred to ICF. Defendant Sanders received Plaintiff’s repaired dentures and attempted to give them to Plaintiff unfitted. However, Plaintiff refused to take them because they were unusable. After talking with Plaintiff, Defendant Sanders agreed that the dentures were misshapen and too wide for Plaintiff’s mouth. Defendant Sanders stated that he would have them remade. However, Plaintiff was moved to ARF shortly thereafter.

         Once at ARF, Defendant Hardy attempted to give Plaintiff his unfitted dentures. The lower dentures had a lump in the area that had been repaired and needed to be aligned. Defendant Hardy refused to align the dentures, which were unusable, so Plaintiff refused to take them. Plaintiff filed grievances and sought assistance from the wardens at each of the facilities in which he was confined. However, each time Plaintiff asked for assistance, he was told that dentures had been made for him and he could not have new ones for five years. No. one ever addressed the fact that the dentures did not fit.

         After being moved to SLF again, Plaintiff had the prison find his dentures because his prison time was almost done. The SLF dentist stated that she would never have made dentures that looked like that, and that Plaintiff’s dentures were only for looks and not meant to be used for eating. Plaintiff states that he has been without dentures for two years and could not eat solid food, which has caused him to lose thirty pounds.

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants’ conduct violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff seeks damages.

         II. Failure to state a claim

         A 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)).

         To 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 ยง 1983 is a method for vindicating federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself, the first step in an action ...

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