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Williams v. Woodin

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

September 23, 2019

DONNELL WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
H. WOODIN et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          PAUL L. MALONEY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21, the Court is permitted to drop parties sua sponte when the parties have been misjoined. Pursuant to that rule, the Court will drop as misjoined Defendants Loomis, Unknown Party #1, Rick, Rewerts, Schiebner, Winger, Pung, Washington, Stevenson, Fleisher, Sanchez, and D. Dine and dismiss Plaintiff’s claims against them without prejudice.

         With regard to the claims that remain, 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). Reviewing Plaintiff’s remaining claims against that standard, the Court will dismiss all of Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant Woodin as well as the claims Plaintiff raises against Defendant Stephan in her official capacity. Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant Stephan in her personal capacity may proceed.

         Discussion

         I. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Carson City Correctional Facility (DRF) in Carson City, Montcalm County, Michigan. The events about which he complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues DRF Mental Health Chief H. Woodin and healthcare provider Unknown Stephan. He sues DRF Librarian R. Loomis, Unknown Party #1 (described as unknown female librarian), and Librarian Tech S. Rick. Plaintiff sues MDOC Director Heidi Washington, DRF Warden Randee Rewerts, Deputy Warden J. Schiebner, and Assistant Deputy Wardens J. Winger and B. Pung. Finally, Plaintiff sues DRF Prison Counselors Unknown Stevenson and Unknown Fleisher, Corrections Officer Unknown Sanchez, and Mailroom Supervisor D. Dine.

         A. Defendants Woodin and Stephan

         Plaintiff arrived at DRF on June 27, 2019. The next day, Defendant Woodin called Plaintiff out for mental health treatment. On July 1, Defendant Stephan called Plaintiff out for treatment. On July 3, Plaintiff sent Defendants Woodin and Stephan a kite about nightmares he was suffering, nightmares about correctional officers from Chippewa Correctional Facility and Warden Connie Horton hanging Plaintiff in his segregation cell.

         On July 8, Plaintiff saw Defendant Stephan about the nightmares. According to Plaintiff, his description of the nightmares prompted Defendant Stephan to ask him if he was going to sue people from Chippewa. When Plaintiff responded he would, Defendant Stephan replied: “You will not be su[]ing none of my co-works that work for the Department of Correction, and I will be talking [to] my boss that I took you off of outpatient treatment f or trying t o sue the Michigan Department of Correction.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.7.)

         Thereafter, Plaintiff sent kites to Defendants Stephan and Woodin regarding mental health treatment, but got no response. So, on July 11, Plaintiff filed a grievance against Defendants Stephan and Woodin for denying Plaintiff outpatient treatment in retaliation for suing the Michigan Department of Corrections. Plaintiff has continued to kite these defendants, but he has received no responses and, apparently, no outpatient treatment.

         B. Defendants Loomis, Unknown Female Librarian, and S. Rick

         On July 11, Defendant Loomis and two library techs refused to put Plaintiff on call-out to see the legal writer. On July 16, Plaintiff grieved them. On August 1, Plaintiff was interviewed regarding the grievance by Unknown Female Librarian and S. Rick. According to Plaintiff, because he would not sign off on the grievance, those two retaliated against Plaintiff saying that they were taking Plaintiff off of law library call out and that the legal writer would not file Plaintiff’s motions. Plaintiff filed a grievance against those two Defendants on August 6. He has not been put back on call-out for the law library or the legal writer service since that time.

         Plaintiff attaches the initial grievance and the response to his complaint. (ECF No. 1-1, PageID.19-20.) It does not appear that Plaintiff takes issue with the information in the response. The response reveals that when Plaintiff arrived at DRF he had to be approved for the legal writer program there before he could use the program. He applied on July 2. He was approved on July 16. When Loomis and the library techs refused to call Plaintiff out for the legal writer, Plaintiff was not approved for the program.

         C. Defendants Washington, Rewerts, Schiebner, Winger, and Pung

         On August 2, Plaintiff filed a “Declaratory Ruling Motion” on Defendants Washington, Rewerts, Schiebner, Winger, and Pung, because they knew DRF Grievance Coordinator Becher was not processing Plaintiff’s grievances, yet they did nothing about it.

         D. Defendants Stevenson, Fleischer, Sanchez, and Dine

         On August 8 and 9, Plaintiff could not get anyone to process his legal mail. On August 12, Plaintiff filed a grievance about it. That day, Defendant Stevenson called Plaintiff out to Defendant Fleischer’s office for mail processing. Plaintiff gave Stevenson one legal mail envelope and disbursement form and one indigent mail envelope and disbursement form. Stevenson told Plaintiff that he would have Defendant Sanchez shake down Plaintiff’s cell in retaliation for Plaintiff filing the grievance. Minutes later, Defendant Sanchez shook down Plaintiff’s area of control and told Plaintiff he was doing so in retaliation for Plaintiff’s filing of the grievance.

         On August 13, Plaintiff gave Defendant Fleischer one envelope and disbursement form for a letter to a family member. On August 15, the mail came back to Plaintiff from Defendant Dine, the mailroom supervisor, after it had been opened and read by staff members. Plaintiff claims he was entitled to indigent postage that should have permitted the envelope to be mailed. The documents he attaches to his complaint reveal that Defendant Dine concluded Plaintiff had exhausted his indigent postage allotment for the month and did not have postage to send the August 13, (or another) letter. It appears that Plaintiff and Defendant Dine differ in their interpretation of the postage policy.

         E. Defendants Washington, Rewerts, Schiebner, ...


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