United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern 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 claim under the Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). Plaintiff's First
Amendment free exercise and retaliation claims remain.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Chippewa Correctional Facility
(URF) in Chippewa County, Michigan. The events about which he
complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues URF
Chaplain David M. Rink.
alleges that he is a Sunni Muslim. As part of his religious
practice, Plaintiff participated in group prayer services. He
was called out of his cell to participate in those services
from October of 2018 to April of 2019. During April of 2019,
Plaintiff signed up to participate in the Ramadan fast.
Defendant Rink denied Plaintiff's request to participate
in the fast.
wrote a grievance against Defendant Rink regarding the
denial. As part of the resolution of the grievance, Plaintiff
completed a new religious preference form and Defendant Rink
added Plaintiff to the Ramadan list. Plaintiff claims when he
was added to the Ramadan call list he was removed from the
callout for his group prayer services. As a result, Plaintiff
missed his group prayer services on six Fridays, two before
Ramadan and four during Ramadan.
spoke with Rink about the issue and Rink indicated he would
see what he could do. Nonetheless, Plaintiff missed nine more
weeks of Friday group prayer services.
asks the Court to order Defendant Rink to pay $375, 000 in
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).
claims that Defendant Rink violated Plaintiff's First
Amendment right to freely exercise his religion. Plaintiff
also claims that Defendant Rink burdened Plaintiff's free
exercise rights in retaliation for Plaintiff's filing a
grievance against Rink. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant
Rink's action violate RLUIPA.
Plaintiff's allegations as true, he has adequately
alleged a claim or violation of his First Amendment free
exercise rights as well as a claim for retaliation ...