United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. Neff 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
under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b), and 42
U.S.C. § 1997e(c) Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment
claims regarding double-bunking and confinement with
dangerous felons and his First Amendment access-to-courts
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility
(ARF) in Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan. The events about
which he complains, however, occurred at the Ingham County
Jail in Mason, Ingham County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues Ingham
County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth and the County of Ingham.
alleges that he was confined at the Ingham County Jail from
January 2018 through August 2018, for a parole violation.
During that time, Plaintiff was housed in a one man cell with
another inmate. The two inmates were locked in the cell
together for eighteen hours a day. Plaintiff states that they
were allowed out of the cell for two “3-hour periods,
” during which they could go to the television room.
Plaintiff was not allowed any access to the yard or to an
area where he could exercise, which resulted in his joints
becoming stiff and sore.
claims that “several jail post[s] have been closed due
to black mold, ” which is airborne and jeopardized his
health, causing unspecified respiratory complications.
Plaintiff states that masks were given to the deputies, but
that no masks were available for prisoner use. Plaintiff also
asserts that there are signs posted around the jail warning
against drinking the water and that the deputies bring water
from home. Plaintiff alleges that he continues to experience
bladder pain from drinking the water at the jail, implying
that he was forced to drink the jail water.
alleges that the computer, which had previously functioned as
the law library, has been eliminated, preventing Plaintiff
from researching law pertaining to parole violations. The
only non-legal material Plaintiff was allowed to receive
through the mail was postcards. Letters from friends and
family were rejected. Plaintiff was housed with dangerous
convicted felons, who stole his food. Plaintiff asserts that
he was in constant fear of being sexually assaulted or
contends that Defendants have an “official policy or
custom of maintaining unconstitutional conditions” at
the Ingham County Jail, that includes double bunking, cell
confinement, prohibiting exercise, failing to segregate
dangerous criminals, failing to correct the black mold
problem, eliminating the computer/law library, and
prohibiting all personal mail except postcards. Plaintiff
seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
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).
Sheriff and County as Defendants
only Defendants listed by Plaintiff in this case are Ingham
County and Sheriff Wriggelsworth. Local governments, such as
Defendant Ingham County, are liable only when the asserted
injury is caused by an official policy or custom. See
Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 60 (2011); City of
Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 392 (1989); Monell
v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978).
In matters pertaining to the conditions of the jail and to
the operation of the deputies, the sheriff is the policymaker
for the county. Mich. Comp. Laws § 51.75 (sheriff has
the “charge and custody” of the jails in his
county); Mich. Comp. Laws § 51.281 (sheriff prescribes
rules and regulations for conduct of prisoners); Mich. Comp.
Laws § 51.70 (sheriff may appoint deputies and revoke
appointments at any time); Kroes v. Smith, 540
F.Supp. 1295, 1298 (E.D. Mich. 1982) (the sheriff of “a
given county is the only official with direct control over
the duties, responsibilities, and methods of operation of
deputy sheriffs” and thus, the sheriff
“establishes the policies and customs described in
Monell”). Thus, the Court looks to the
allegations in Plaintiff’s complaint to determine
whether Plaintiff has alleged that the sheriff has
established a policy or custom which caused him to be