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Walser v. Corrigan

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

October 1, 2019

DALTON WALSER, Plaintiff,
v.
J. CORRIGAN et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          Paul L. Maloney, United States District Judge.

         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 against Defendants Spiker, Theut, and Horton.

         Discussion

         I. Factual Allegations

          Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Alger Correctional Facility (LMF) in Munising, Alger County, Michigan. The events about which he complains, however, occurred at the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues URF employees Assistant Deputy Warden J. Corrigan, Assistant Resident Unit Manager Unknown Dunton, Resident Unit Manager Corey Spiker, Hearings Officer Unknown Theut, and Warden Connie Horton.

         Plaintiff alleges that on August 14, 2018, he found out that the Gangster Disciples placed a hit on his life because of a disagreement he had with one of their members. Plaintiff walked to the control center and requested protective custody. The sergeant instructed Plaintiff to write a statement specifying why he needed protection and from whom. Plaintiff wrote a letter stating that he had been approached by a member of the Gangster Disciples who told him that he needed to pay the gang a monthly fee of $50.00 to stay at the facility, or else he was going to be seriously hurt. The sergeant then placed Plaintiff in the “Kory” unit.

         On August 15, 2018, Plaintiff was taken to a S.C.C. (Security Classification Committee) meeting. At the meeting, Defendants Corrigan and Dunton told Plaintiff that he was only asking for protection so he could be transferred out of URF. Plaintiff never received a protective custody hearing investigation. Defendants Corrigan and Dunton told Plaintiff that unless he returned to general population, they would keep him in segregation and would write disobeying direct order tickets on Plaintiff for “refusing general population” until his points caused him to become a security level V. Defendants told Plaintiff that once he was a level V prisoner, they would transfer him. Plaintiff refused to go to general population and was given a misconduct ticket. On August 20, 2018, Plaintiff received 10 days in detention.

         On August 30, 2018, Plaintiff was given another order to return to the general population. Because Plaintiff was close to seeing the parole board and did not want any more tickets, he agreed. Plaintiff was sent to the same unit that housed the gang members who had threatened him.

         On September 21, 2018, Plaintiff was attacked from behind while using the urinal. Plaintiff was struck on the back of his head multiple times and forced to defend himself. Plaintiff was taken to health care and was told that he had a fractured right hand, which required a cast. Plaintiff also had a cut on his lip. On September 27, 2018, Plaintiff was heard on a fighting misconduct and again asked for protection. Plaintiff's request was denied without investigation.

         On October 23, 2018, Plaintiff had another S.C.C. hearing and requested protection. Plaintiff's request was denied and Defendant Corrigan told Plaintiff to stop being scared and to face his problems. Plaintiff asked Defendant Corrigan if he wanted Plaintiff to be stabbed next time. On November 2, 2018, Plaintiff was given a direct order to return to general population. Plaintiff refused because he feared for his life. As a result, he received a misconduct ticket. On November 7, 2018, Plaintiff received 10 days in detention.

         On November 17, 2018, Plaintiff refused another direct order to return to general population and received another misconduct. On November 20, 2018, Plaintiff was sentenced to 10 days in detention. Plaintiff was seen by the S.C.C. after each detention sanction and requested protection each time. Plaintiff's security level was increased from level II to level IV because he continued to refuse to return to general population. On December 26, 2018, Plaintiff was seen by the S.C.C., where Defendant Corrigan told Plaintiff that he was requesting to have Plaintiff placed in the “Restart Program, ” which is for individuals who cannot be managed in general population.

         On January 16, 2019, Plaintiff was transferred to LMF and was placed in segregation. Plaintiff was put in the “Pilot Program, ” which has 6 stages and lasts a minimum of 10 weeks. Plaintiff was finally released back into general population on April 2, 2019, and asserts that he was needlessly punished by confinement in segregation because of his refusal to go to general population with gang members who had threatened him. 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 ...


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