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Fawfaw v. Tighe

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

October 30, 2019

JACOB A. FAWFAW, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN TIGHE 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 Defendant Grievance Coordinator Unknown Party #1 and the claim against Defendant Corrections Officer Unknown Tighe for deprivation of property without due process.

         Discussion

         I. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF) in Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan. The events about which he complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues Corrections Officers Unknown Tighe, Unknown Pieczynsky, and Unknown Bissel; Grievance Coordinator Unknown Party #1; and Registered Nurse Unknown Party #2.

         Plaintiff alleges that on the afternoon of June 25, 2019, he was about to start his sanction break[1] in the morning yard of ECF when two corrections officers ordered Plaintiff to “cuff up” to return to segregation. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.2-3.) Plaintiff refused and requested a sergeant or shift commanding officer for an explanation. (Id., PageID.3.) In response to Plaintiff's failure to comply with the direct order, Defendants Tighe and Pieczynsky “pulled a Tazer [sic] on the Plaintiff and threatened to use deadly force.” (Id.)

         Defendants Tighe and Pieczynsky escorted Plaintiff to segregation with hands cuffed behind his back and raised such that Plaintiff suffered pain to his shoulder and neck. (Id., PageID.2.) When Plaintiff informed Defendants Tighe and Pieczynsky of the pain and his preexisting neck injury, Defendant Tighe pulled Plaintiff's arms up further behind his back and directed Plaintiff to “Shut the fuck up, and stop being a bitch.” (Id.) Defendant Tighe subsequently destroyed Plaintiff's headphones by ripping the earbuds from the cords. (Id.)

         When Plaintiff and Defendants Tighe and Pieczynsky entered the segregation unit, Plaintiff again informed that they were causing pain to his neck. (Id.) In response, Defendant Tighe “grabbed the Plaintiff by his throat and squeezed his windpipe . . . choking [him].” (Id.) In a similar fashion, Defendant Pieczynsky then “shoved his knuckles into the Plaintiff[']s ear, neck, and throat” such that both Defendants Tighe and Pieczynsky were applying force to “Plaintiff[']s throat and choking” him. (Id.) Soon thereafter, Defendants Tighe and Pieczynsky shoved Plaintiff's head and face against the segregation unit's inside door, and Defendant Pieczynsky “punched the plaintiff in his side one time” before placing Plaintiff in a cell. (Id.)

         Plaintiff alleges he is mentally ill and receives treatment for mood disorders and depression. (Id., PageID.3.) Plaintiff alleges that while in the cell he experienced pain and symptoms of depression following the incidents with Defendants Tighe and Pieczynsky. (Id.) To address these symptoms, Plaintiff informed Defendant Bissel that he was having suicidal thoughts and needed a nurse. (Id.) Defendant Bissel responded that he did not care and that he was going home. (Id.) Approximately 15 minutes later, Plaintiff attempted suicide by cutting open his arm. (Id.) A shift commander was alerted, but Plaintiff's complaint does not otherwise describe the immediate response.

         Two days later, on June 27, 2019, Plaintiff sent a medical kite to Defendant Registered Nurse Unknown Party #2, which was never answered, seeking treatment for the neck and throat pains caused by Defendants Tighe and Pieczynsky. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that staff continue to retaliate against him, including by failing to respond to his medical kites or to respond to his grievances. (Id.)

         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)).

         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 § 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).

         Here, Plaintiff asserts Eighth Amendment claims against all defendants under theories of excessive force, failure to protect, and deprivation of medical care. Plaintiff's statement of the facts additionally implies a claim against Defendant Tighe under the ...


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