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Powell v. Michigan Department of Corrections

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

November 6, 2019



          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 Defendants Michigan Department of Corrections, Majercyzk, Schultz, and Pallas.


         I. Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility, (LRF) in Muskegon Heights, Muskegon County, Michigan. The events about which he complains, however, occurred at the Kinross Correctional Facility (KCF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan, the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan, and the Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF) in Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), ECF Mental Health Chief Brian Majercyzk, Psychologist Unknown Marshall, Nurse Jack Bellinger, Nurse Unknown Briske, Nurse Unknown Doane, Lieutenant Unknown Baker, Sergeant Nicholas Radamaker, Corrections Officer Unknown Schultz, and Hearings Officer D. J. Pallas.

         Plaintiff alleges that at 7:45 p.m. on June 21, 2019, while he was being housed at the KCF, he was approached by several correctional officers who ordered him to place his hands behind his back so he could be handcuffed. Plaintiff was then escorted to the control center, where he was strip searched and placed in a holding cell. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff was transferred to URF, where he was placed in a holding cell with another prisoner.

         On June 25, 2019, Plaintiff was transferred to the ECF administrative segregation unit. Upon his arrival at ECF, Hearings Investigator Goodsped asked Plaintiff if he wanted to make a statement about the misconduct he had received. Plaintiff responded that he had not received a misconduct. Goodsped asked if that was his statement and Plaintiff stated that he was innocent.

         On June 26, 2019, Plaintiff had a settlement conference before United States Magistrate Judge Ellen Carmody in No. 1:17-cv-82, during which he declined to dismiss his claims against Brian Majercyzk, Nicholas Radamaker, and Jessie Shelton. The Court notes that Majercyzk and Radamaker are also named as defendants in this case.

         On June 27, 2019, Defendant Marshall interviewed Plaintiff regarding his treatment plan. Plaintiff asked if the plan could be updated to address his new security level. Defendant Marshall stated that Plaintiff was scheduled to see the treatment team in September, so his plan could remain in place until then. Plaintiff responded that his symptoms were getting worse since being in segregation and that his goal was to manage them in his current living situation. Defendant Marshall again refused.

         On July 1, 2019, Plaintiff had a disciplinary hearing with Defendant Pallas. Plaintiff stated that he had never received a misconduct and did not know why he was in administrative segregation. Defendant Pallas read an assault and battery on an inmate misconduct, which had been written by Sgt. Formolo. Defendant Pallas told Plaintiff to write down any questions he wanted to ask Sgt. Formolo and adjourned the hearing. Plaintiff states that he never got his questions answered, nor did he have the opportunity to present evidence in his defense. On July 3, 2019, Defendant Pallas found Plaintiff guilty. The hearing report, which is attached to Plaintiff's complaint, states that there was surveillance video showing a prisoner, who was positively identified as Plaintiff, striking another prisoner in the head and chest. The prisoner who was assaulted during the incident was found to have puncture wounds. (ECF No. 1-1, PageID.20-21.)

         On July 2, 2019, Plaintiff had a security classification committee (SCC) review. Assistant Deputy Warden Clause asked Plaintiff what had happened, and Plaintiff stated that he did not know. Resident Unit Manager McCary stated that he did not see anything in the computer on Plaintiff. Plaintiff told them that his misconduct hearing had been adjourned. Assistant Deputy Warden Clause indicated that they would lay Plaintiff in for 30 days and he was escorted back to his cell.

         On July 11, 2019, Plaintiff had a videoconference with Dr. Fuller and Plaintiff complained that his mental health needs were not being met in administrative segregation. Dr. Fuller told Plaintiff that he was going to refer him for inpatient treatment. Later that day, Plaintiff was taken to a caged shower to meet with Defendant Marshall. Defendant Marshall asked Plaintiff what he had told Dr. Fuller, and Plaintiff shared the information. Defendant Marshall then told Plaintiff that he should have kept his mouth shut and would now be going to an observation cell. Plaintiff tried to explain to Officer Pike that Defendant Marshall was retaliating against him on behalf of Defendant Majercyzk, but Pike said that health care overrides unit officers in this type of situation. Plaintiff was then placed in an isolation/observation cell. Once in the isolation cell, Plaintiff only had a strap on gown and a blanket. The light was on twenty-four hours a day. Plaintiff was not given any tissue and could not flush the toilet. There was a camera in the cell and there were no other cells in the surrounding area.

         On July 12, 2019, Defendant Marshall and Ms. Mucha came to the cell window and told him that he was going to be kept in the cell for the time being. Ms. Mucha told Plaintiff that she knew it was difficult, but that they were still consulting with some people. Plaintiff protested that he had not done or said anything to warrant his placement in an observation cell. Plaintiff stated that the observation cell was where he had heard voices the last time. Defendant Marshall said that Plaintiff just needed to get through the weekend and he would be released from observation on Monday. Plaintiff complained that when others were placed in an observation cell, they were released after twenty-four hours. Plaintiff asked why he was being treated differently, but Defendant Marshall and Ms. Mucha refused to answer. A little while later, Defendant Marshall came by Plaintiff's cell and told him that if she released him from observation and he tried to kill himself, she could be liable. Plaintiff said that he was in the observation cell when he tried to chew through his wrist vein. Defendant Marshall said, “I know, but Majercyzk doesn't think it is a good idea.” Later that afternoon, Plaintiff suffered a psychotic break and attempted suicide by chewing into his left vein. Plaintiff was escorted from the observation cell and seen by Defendant Bellinger, who rinsed the wound with water and dressed it with a large band aid. Plaintiff claims that his vein was “partly coming out of his wrist.” (ECF No. 1, PageID.7.) Plaintiff subsequently bit into the wound again and was treated by Defendant Doane, who rinsed the wound with water and applied a large band aid. Defendant Radamaker then ordered Plaintiff to be placed in a restraint chair. Approximately two hours later, Plaintiff told Sgt. Stone that the restraints were too tight and his wrist ached. Sgt. Stone stated that a nurse would be coming to do a restraint check shortly.

         Later, when Defendant Radamaker came to his cell, Plaintiff asked to see the nurse because he was in pain. Defendant Radamaker asked Plaintiff if he was going to continue his suicidal behavior, but Plaintiff did not respond. Defendant Radamaker told Plaintiff that if he answered the question, he could see the nurse. Plaintiff said nothing. Defendant Radamaker then said “ok” and walked away. (Id.) At approximately 7:00 p.m., Plaintiff called for help. Defendant Radamaker responded to the call and Plaintiff asked to see Defendant Baker. When Defendant Baker arrived, Plaintiff asked if he could shower to wash the dried blood off, but Defendant Baker refused his request. Defendant Baker stated that the nurse would be around later to pass out the medication. Plaintiff then complained that the restraints were too tight and hurting his arms and wrists. Defendant Baker again stated that the nurse would be around soon.

         At 9:00 p.m., Defendant Doane came to give Plaintiff his medication. Defendant Doane checked Plaintiff's restraints and had Defendant Radamaker loosen the shoulder restraints. Defendant Doane left without checking or cleaning Plaintiff's bite wound. At midnight, Sgt. Mackey and Lt. Johnson removed Plaintiff from his restraints. For the next two days, Plaintiff felt better, was able to eat all his meals, and did not have any suicidal thoughts. Plaintiff did not sleep well on the night of July 14, 2019, because it was quite hot in his cell. On July 15, 2019, Defendant Marshall asked Plaintiff about his condition on July 12, 2019, and he stated that being in the observation cell made him hear things and hallucinate. Defendant Marshall explained that because Plaintiff had been in the restraint chair for eight hours, he was going to be kept in the observation cell for additional observation. Plaintiff protested that he did not need to be in observation and that it was not fair to keep him there ...

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