United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
T. Neff, United States District Judge.
a civil rights action brought by a county jail inmate 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.
is presently incarcerated at the Muskegon County Jail. He
initially was housed at the jail on a parole violation. Since
Plaintiff arrived on January 15, 2019, he has twice been
accused of sexual assault by other prisoners. Those
accusations have resulted in criminal charges for
fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct pending in the Muskegon
County Circuit Court, No. 19-002326-FH and No. 19-003704-FH.
It appears that Plaintiff is not incarcerated in connection
with the pending criminal prosecutions rather than the parole
contends that his accusers, inmates Olson and Korstanje, are
lying. Plaintiff sues Muskegon County Sheriff Michael Poulin;
Sergeants Todd Gilchrist and Unknown Rideout; and Deputies
Justin Kring and Unknown Knox.
contends that Defendants are “violating [his]
constitutional rights by not protecting [him] from the first
charge or the second charge.” (Compl., ECF No. 1,
PageID.4.) Plaintiff claims the Defendants played some role
in furthering the claims raised by Olson and Korstanje,
despite knowing that the charges were false. Plaintiff also
claims the Muskegon County Sheriffs Department shows Prison
Rape Elimination Act commercials, over and over, all night on
television thereby encouraging his accusers to make
allegations against Plaintiff for other purposes, i.e., for
Olson, to force a cell move, and for Korstanje, to deflect
attention when he was caught playing cards in another room.
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).
does not identify the specific constitutional right infringed
by Defendants' conduct; however, he complains that his
liberty is restrained by virtue of Defendants' use of
knowingly false evidence-the lies of Olson and Korstanje-to
further Plaintiff's prosecution. Plaintiff's claim,
therefore, implicates the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process
Clause. McDonough v. Smith, 139 S.Ct. 2149, 2156-57
(2019). The Sixth Circuit has referred to claims like
Plaintiff's as § 1983 claims for malicious
prosecution. See King v. Harwood, 852 F.3d 568, 580
(6th Cir. 2017).
state a claim for malicious prosecution under § 1983,
Plaintiff must allege four elements: “‘(1) a
criminal prosecution was initiated against the plaintiff, and
the defendant made[, ] influenced, or participated in the
decision to prosecute; (2) there was a lack of probable cause
for the criminal prosecution; (3) the plaintiff suffered a
deprivation of liberty, as understood under Fourth Amendment
jurisprudence, apart from the initial seizure; and (4) the
criminal proceeding was resolved in the plaintiff's
favor.'” King, 852 F.3d at 580 (quoting
Sanders v. Jones, 845 F.3d 721, 728 (6th Cir. 2017)).
Plaintiff's criminal prosecutions are still pending. He
has not and he cannot allege that they have been resolved in
his favor. Accordingly, he cannot state a claim for malicious
prosecution under § 1983.