United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
J. JONKER, CHIEF 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 against Defendants Rhodes and Viven
for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Chippewa Correctional Facility
(URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. The events
about which he complains occurred at that facility and the G.
Robert Cotton Correctional Facility (JCF) in Jackson, Jackson
County, Michigan and the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF)
in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues Dr.
Karen Rhodes and Dr. Dorsey Viven, M.D.
alleges that he was diagnosed with a hernia in 2013. On
October 23, 2014, Plaintiff filed a civil rights complaint in
the Eastern District of Michigan against MDOC Director Daniel
Heyns and Defendant Dr. Rhodes for deliberate indifference
toward his serious medical needs. See Collins v. Heyns,
et al., No. 2:14-cv-14105 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 15, 2016). On
April 15, 2016, Plaintiff's claims against Defendant
Rhodes were dismissed without prejudice for lack of service
and failure to prosecute. However, Plaintiff alleges that he
continues to suffer with a grapefruit sized hernia. Plaintiff
seeks to reinstate his claims against Defendant Rhodes in
also alleges that Defendant Dorsey and Viven are well aware
of Plaintiff's documented hernia, left knee, and lower
back conditions, but on March 4, 2019, found that Plaintiff
did not need surgery. Plaintiff states that he has continuous
problems with lower back and knee pain, which affect all
aspects of his life, including standing and lying down.
Plaintiff complains that both Defendants have refused to
recommend surgery and have instead prescribed conservative
treatment, providing Plaintiff with a cane, knee brace, and
abdominal binder. Plaintiff also contends that the pain
medication prescribed by Defendants makes his abdominal walls
thinner and his hernia bigger.
states that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth
Amendment. Plaintiff seeks compensatory 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).
seeks to reinstate the claims he asserted against Defendant
Rhodes in Collins v. Heyns, et al., No.
2:14-cv-14105 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 15, 2016). State statutes of
limitations and tolling principles apply to determine the
timeliness of claims asserted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 268-69 (1985). For
civil rights suits filed in Michigan under § 1983, the
statute of limitations is three years. See Mich.
Comp. Laws § 600.5805(2); Carroll v. Wilkerson,
782 F.2d 44, 44 (6th Cir. 1986) (per curiam); Stafford v.
Vaughn, No. 97-2239, 1999 WL 96990, at *1 (6th Cir. Feb.
2, 1999). Accrual of the claim for relief, however, is a
question of federal law. Collyer v. Darling, 98 F.3d
211, 220 (6th Cir. 1996); Sevier v. Turner, 742 F.2d
262, 272 (6th Cir. 1984). The statute of limitations begins
to run when the aggrieved party knows or has reason to know
of the injury that is the basis of his action.
Collyer, 98 F.3d at 220.
claims against Defendant Rhodes are untimely. He asserts
claims arising in 2013 and 2014. Plaintiff had reason to know
of the “harms” done to him at the time they
occurred. Hence, his claims accrued in 2014. When Plaintiff
originally asserted his claims against Defendant Rhodes they
were timely. However, as noted above, those claims were
dismissed on April 15, 2016. Plaintiff did not file the
instant complaint until July 12, 2019. Assuming that the
statute of limitations was tolled while Plaintiff's
action was pending in the Eastern District, three years and
three months elapsed before he filed the instant
case. Michigan law no longer tolls the running
of the statute of limitations when a plaintiff is
incarcerated. See Mich. Comp. Laws §
600.5851(9). Further, it is well established that ignorance
of the law does not warrant equitable tolling of a ...