United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
L. MALONEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT 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), 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
against Defendant Corizon Medical Corporation.
Joshua Snider, a transgender prisoner, was incarcerated with
the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the
Marquette Branch Prison (MBP) in Marquette, Michigan, when
she filed her complaint. The events about which Plaintiff
complains occurred while she was incarcerated at MBP and at
the Carson City Correctional Facility (DRF), the Oaks
Correctional Facility (ECF), the Bellamy Creek Correctional
Facility (IBC), and the Michigan Reformatory (RMI).
sues Corizon Medical Corporation (Corizon) and Corizon
employees Dr. Unknown Schmidt and Nurse Unknown Faulk. She
also sues Health Services Unit Manager (HUM) C. Scott, who
works for the MDOC at RMI, and Brenda James, who works for
the MDOC at MBP. In addition, Plaintiff sues five unnamed
individuals identified as “Jane Doe #1, ”
“Jane Doe #2, ” “Dr. John Doe #1, ”
“Dr. John Doe #2, and “John Doe #3, ” who
work for either Corizon or the MDOC.
alleges that she has been diagnosed with “GID”
(i.e., gender identity disorder, also known as gender
dysphoria) and has been living as a transgendered woman since
the age of 16. She became a prisoner with the MDOC in March
2016. For at least a year before her incarceration with the
MDOC, she took female hormones. When she arrived at the MDOC,
she was labeled “Transgendered, ” but she did not
receive hormone therapy at that time. (Compl., ECF No. 1,
met with each of the individual defendants at various times
from 2017 to 2019 and discussed her condition or need for
hormone treatment, but she did not receive that treatment
until February 2019. For a brief period in September 2017,
Plaintiff received hormone treatment while detained at the
Wayne County Jail under a writ for pending criminal charges
against her. In contrast, it took several years for her to
receive hormone treatment while under Defendants’ care.
Plaintiff also requested female undergarments at some point
in time, but in January 2019, Dr. Schmidt told her that those
garments were not approved.
claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to her
serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment,
because they failed to provide hormone treatment for almost
two years, and have not provided female undergarments. As
relief, Plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment against
Defendants Corizon, Schmidt, Faulk, Scott, James, John Doe
#1, John Doe #2, John Doe #3, Jane Doe #1, and Jane Doe #2.
She also seeks damages and an injunction requiring the MDOC
or its agents to provide her with undergarments appropriate
for her gender.
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).
private entity like Corizon, which contracts with the State
of Michigan to perform the traditional state function of
providing healthcare to inmates, can “be sued under
§ 1983 as one acting ‘under color of state
law.’” See Hicks v. Frey,992 F.2d 1450,
1458 (6th Cir. 1993) (quoting West v. Atkins, 487
U.S. 42, 54 (1988)). For Corizon to be liable, however, the
execution of its policy or custom must be the source of the
alleged injury. Perry v. Corizon Health, Inc., No.
17-2489, 2018 WL 3006334, at *1 (6th Cir. June 8, 2018). In
other words, Corizon is subject to the same standard for
liability as a municipal defendant. Id. (citing
Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
694 (1978)). “[M]unicipal defendants may only be sued
under § 1983 for their own ...