United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
KUSHAWN S. MILES, Plaintiff,
DAVID RINK et al., Defendants.
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 James Corrigan. The Court will also dismiss
for failure to state a claim Plaintiff’s claims under
the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Chippewa Correctional Facility
(URF) in Kincheloe, Michigan. The events about which he
complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues URF
Chaplain David Rink and URF Assistant Deputy Warden James
Corrigan, in their respective personal capacities.
alleges that he is a Moorish-American Muslim and that his
sincerely held religious beliefs require that he adhere to
Muslim dietary rules. Accordingly, on August 18, 2018, and
August 25, 2018, Plaintiff sent kites to Defendant Rink
requesting approval for Plaintiff’s participation in
the religious meal program at URF. On September 2, 2018,
Plaintiff, having not received any response, filed a
grievance against Defendant Rink.
Rink responded to the grievance at the first step. Plaintiff
objected to Rink’s role as respondent to a grievance
about himself because it was a violation of MDOC policy. Rink
informed Plaintiff that Defendant Corrigan had approved the
of the response to the grievance, Rink had Plaintiff fill out
an application for religious meal accommodation. The chaplain
told Plaintiff that he would process the application and
submit it to the Correctional Facilities Administration (CFA)
Special Activities Coordinator-the only person who could
approve the application.
Rink asked Plaintiff to sign off on the grievance. Plaintiff
refused. Defendant Rink then told Plaintiff “good luck
with trying to get on a religious diet” and left.
Defendant Rink, and then Defendant Corrigan, signed off on
the grievance response.
never received approval for the religious diet. In connection
with similar litigation against other MDOC personnel,
Miles v. Mich. Dep’t of Corr. et al.,
No. 1:18-cv-352 (W.D. Mich.), Plaintiff obtained an affidavit
from the CFA Special Activities Coordinator indicating that
he had never received an application from URF. Plaintiff
contends that Defendants purposely impeded Plaintiff’s
application in retaliation for Plaintiff’s refusal to
sign off on the grievance, in violation of Plaintiff’s
First Amendment rights. Moreover, Plaintiff claims Defendants
actions interfered with Plaintiff’s exercise of his
religion in violation of the First Amendment Free Exercise
Clause and RLUIPA. In addition, Plaintiff claims Defendants
discriminated against him for exercising his First Amendment
rights in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment Free Exercise
Clause. Finally, Plaintiff contends that Defendants’
actions violated Plaintiff’s rights under state law.
seeks compensatory and punitive damages and declaratory
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 ...