United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
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 Defendants Hill, Neubecker, Ninnis, Viitala, and
Unknown Party #1.
presently is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Saginaw County Correctional
Facility (SRF) in Freeland, Saginaw County, Michigan. The
events about which he complains, however, occurred at the
Marquette Branch Prison (MBP) in Marquette, Marquette County,
Michigan. Plaintiff sues the following MBP officials:
Correctional Officers (unknown) Kienert and (unknown) Hill;
Sergeants (unknown) Neubecker and T. Ninnis; Resident Unit
Manager (unknown) Viitala; and an unknown nurse (Unknown
alleges that, on September 8, 2018, as he was walking by the
officers' unit station, he called out to another
prisoner, using a raised voice. Defendant Kienert ordered
Plaintiff to go to the officers' desk. Kienert loudly
stated, “Stop your f*cking screaming down my f*cking
hallways.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.4.) Kienert then
stood up and yelled, “[D]o I make myself clear?”
(Id.) Kienert grabbed Plaintiff by the shirt and
shoved Plaintiff against the bars in the officers'
station, repeating, “[D]o I make myself clear?”
(Id.) Plaintiff's head hit the bars, and
Defendant Kienert mockingly said, “[S]orry about that,
” while still holding Plaintiff's shirt and shoving
him. (Id.) Kienert then ordered Plaintiff out of his
office. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Klienert used
excessive force against him, in violation of Plaintiff's
rights under the Eighth Amendment.
states that he was dazed and temporarily lost consciousness
when he hit his head. He developed a lump on his head and
suffered neck pain, dizziness, seeing stars, and headaches.
On the day of the alleged assault, Plaintiff submitted a
health care request, seeking medical attention for neck pain
caused by being pushed by Kleinert. Plaintiff was advised on
September 14, 2018, that a visit had been scheduled, and he
was seen by Defendant unknown nurse on September 17, 2018.
The nurse prescribed pain medication. Three days later, on
September 20, 2018, Plaintiff again sent a health care
request, in which he complained that he was experiencing more
frequent headaches, dizzy spells, and episodes of seeing
stars. Plaintiff received no response to his second request.
to the affidavit attached to Plaintiff's complaint (Ex. E
to Compl., ECF No. 1-1, PageID.20-23), Plaintiff told
Defendant Sgt. Neubecker about the assault on September 13,
2019. (Id., PageID.21.) Defendant Neubecker advised
Plaintiff that she wanted to investigate Plaintiff's
allegations. On September 14, 2018, Plaintiff asked Defendant
Neubecker if she had investigated the issue, and she stated
that she had passed the complaint up the chain of command to
a lieutenant. That same date, Plaintiff spoke to Defendant
Viitala about the assault. Viitala told Plaintiff that he was
investigating another matter, but he told Plaintiff to submit
a kite, which Viitala expected to receive the following
Monday. Plaintiff sent the kite, but he received no response.
September 19, 2018, Plaintiff spoke with Defendant Viitala in
the prison yard. Plaintiff asked why Viitala had not called
Plaintiff out to talk about the kite. Viitala informed
Plaintiff that he had never received the kite. As a result,
on September 22, 2018, Plaintiff sent another kite to
Defendant Viitala. Plaintiff again received no response. In
addition, Plaintiff alleges that his family members called
the state police and the MBP warden about the assault.
submitted a Step-I grievance dated September 20, 2018, but he
contends that he never received a grievance receipt or
identification number. Plaintiff also wrote a letter to the
grievance coordinator, but he received no response. Plaintiff
attaches copies of both the grievance and the letter to his
complaint. (See Ex. C & D to Compl., ECF No.
1-1, PageID.16, 18.) Plaintiff asserts that the grievance
procedure therefore was rendered unavailable to him. However,
Plaintiff also attaches to his complaint a copy of a Step-I
grievance receipt for a grievance filed on the same issue,
which was submitted on September 17, 2018, and received on
September 19, 2018. (Ex. H to Compl., ECF No. 1-1,
PageID.33-34.) In addition, Plaintiff attaches a copy of the
Step-I grievance response signed by Defendant Ninnis on
October 4, 2018. (Ex. G to Compl., ECF No. 1-1,
PageID.26-28.) Plaintiff complains that Defendant Ninnis made
false statements in the grievance response. Specifically,
Plaintiff argues that Defendant Ninnis falsely stated that
Plaintiff had denied having evidence to support his
allegations and that Defendants Viitala and Neubecker denied
that Plaintiff had reported the assault to them.
contends that Defendants Neubecker, Ninnis, and Viitala
conspired to cover up the assault, retaliated against
Plaintiff for filing a grievance by covering up the assault,
and violated Plaintiff's right to due process in the
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Hill violated his right to
petition government by ripping up Plaintiff's Step-III
grievance response, preventing Plaintiff from attaching the
response to his complaint. Plaintiff contends that Defendant
Hill's action also was taken in retaliation for Plaintiff
having filed a grievance.
seeks nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages.
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).
Defendants Neubecker, ...