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Soldan v. Washington

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

October 17, 2019

RICHARD SOLDAN, Plaintiff,
v.
HEIDI WASHINGTON 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. 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 the complaint. Plaintiff fails to state a federal claim, and the Court declines to exercise jurisdiction over any claims arising under state law.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Central Michigan Correctional Facility (STF) in St. Louis, Michigan. Plaintiff sues the following employees of the MDOC: Director Heidi Washington, Deputy Director Richard Marlan, Parole Board Chairman Michael Eagen, and Hearings Officer Maribeth Zeller.

         Plaintiff alleges that, in 2017, while he was on parole, he was charged with a violation of his parole. Defendant Zeller conducted a parole violation hearing on August 24, 2017, and determined that Plaintiff had violated his parole. About a month later, two members of the Parole Board, Sandra Wilson and Sonya Warchok, decided to revoke Plaintiff's parole. That same day, nine members of the Parole Board decided to continue Plaintiff's imprisonment for 60 months. According to the Parole Board's notice of decision, only part of which is attached to the complaint, board members Wilson and Warchok revoked Plaintiff parole because he was guilty of the following parole violation:

On or about 07/07/17 you engaged in behavior that was assaultive, abusive, threatening and/or intimidating by making threats against Agent Robinson and his family.

(MDOC Parole Board Notice of Action, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.66.)

         Plaintiff contends that Defendants authorized policies and procedures that permitted the revocation of his parole without following the requirements of state law and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. For instance, Plaintiff contends that he did not receive a “written summary” of the evidence against him before his parole violation hearing, and the parole board did not provide “good cause” for the revocation in writing or on the record, which he contends are requirements under state law and Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471 (1972). In addition, only two members of the Parole Board made the decision to revoke his parole, but Plaintiff contends that state law requires a majority of a panel of three members to make this decision.

         As relief, Plaintiff seeks a declaration that Defendants violated his rights and an injunction requiring a new parole violation hearing with the proper procedures.

         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 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)).

         III. 42 U.S.C. § 1983

         To 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 ยง 1983 is a method for vindicating federal rights, not a source of substantive rights itself, the first step in an action ...


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