United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MOSES R. KIRSCHKE, Plaintiff,
J. CHANCE et al., Defendants.
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.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Lakeland Correctional Facility
(LCF) in Coldwater, Branch County, Michigan. The events about
which he complains occurred at that facility, the MDOC
Jackson Regional Business Office, and the Thumb Correctional
Facility (TCF) in Lapeer, Lapeer County, Michigan. Plaintiff
sues MDOC Accounting Assistants J. Chance, Unknown Party #1,
and Unknown Party #2.
alleges that, starting November 2018, Defendants began
“deliberately delaying the processing/posting of
disbursement debts against Plaintiff's account for legal
supplies” to deprive Plaintiff of discretionary funds
for at least three months. (See, e.g., Compl., ECF
No. 1, PageID.7 ¶ 11, PageID.9 ¶ 17.) Plaintiff
further alleges that Defendants sought to deprive Plaintiff
of such funds in retaliation for the exercise of his First
Amendment rights. (Id., PageID.9 ¶ 17.)
has held work assignments during his imprisonment. He has
also carried debt while in custody. Each month from August
2016 to May 2018, MDOC seized all of Plaintiff's
compensation from his prison work assignment to pay toward
his debts. (Id., PageID.7 ¶ 9.) Starting May or
June 2018, MDOC permitted Plaintiff to retain $11 of
compensation each month. (Id., PageID.7 ¶ 10.)
Soon thereafter, Plaintiff began transferring the $11 he
retained each month to the MDOC contractor J-Pay.
(Id., PageID.7 ¶ 10.) Plaintiff planned to
apply these transferred funds toward the purchase of a JP-5
electronic communications tablet, which J-Pay sells.
his custody, Plaintiff has initiated several federal civil
cases and administrative grievances. (See, e.g., ECF
No. 1-2, PageID.19, PageID.41.) Connected to these, Plaintiff
has incurred various expenses including filing fees, copying
charges, supply costs, and postage. Plaintiff alleges that
when Defendants discovered his transfers to J-Pay, Defendants
began deliberately posting all his legal expenses for the
month the same day as his work assignment compensation
posted. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.7 ¶ 11.) As a result,
Plaintiff's compensation would apply toward his legal
expenses rather than remain available to him, thus
frustrating his transfers to J-Pay. Plaintiff alleges that,
as a result of Defendants' scheme, he was deprived of his
work assignment compensation in November 2018 as well as
February and March 2019. (Id., PageID.9 ¶ 17.)
seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as all costs
of litigation in this matter.
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).
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated prison policy in
posting his prison debts. He argues they did so in
retaliation for the exercise of his First Amendment rights.
Plaintiff's statement may also be construed as a claim
under the Fourteenth Amendment for deprivation of property
without due process of law.