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.
presently is 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. Plaintiff
sues URF Optometrist C. Pierce.
to the complaint, Defendant Pierce examined Plaintiff's
vision on July 5, 2018. Defendant Pierce concluded that
Plaintiff had a mild distance vision impairment, as well as a
need for a reading prescription. Because Plaintiff did not
have a severe enough distance impairment to qualify for
bifocals, Defendant Pierce issued two prescriptions. The
first, for reading glasses, supposedly was ordered. Plaintiff
also was given a prescription for distance, and he was
advised that he could order a pair of distance glasses using
his own funds, if he wished to do so.
October 10, 2018, Plaintiff sent a kite to health services,
complaining that he needed bifocals or a pair of reading
glasses and a pair of distance glasses. Health care responded
that a pair of reading glasses had been ordered on July 5,
2018, and that Plaintiff could order from MSI (Michigan State
Industries) a pair of mild corrective glasses for distance
than five months later, on March 31, 2019, Plaintiff wrote a
second kite to health services, complaining that eight months
had elapsed since his visit with Defendant Pierce, but
Plaintiff had not yet received any glasses. Plaintiff
complained that he could not read, see objects, or see where
he was going. Nurse Smith responded to the kite on April 1,
2019, saying that, upon investigation, the prescription had
been issued, but the glasses had not been ordered as they
should have been. The response also indicated that the
glasses would be ordered and that Plaintiff could expect them
in 8 to 10 weeks. (Apr. 1, 2019, Kite Response, ECF No. 1-1,
PageID.13.) Plaintiff ultimately received his reading
after receiving the April 1, 2019, response from health care,
Plaintiff filed a Step-I grievance. The grievance was denied
at Step-I on April 12, 2019, with the explanation that, on
October 8, 2018, Plaintiff had refused bifocals and therefore
had been issued a pair of reading glasses together with a
prescription for mild distance glasses at his own expense.
(Step-I Grievance Response, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.17.)
Plaintiff filed a Step-II grievance, which was denied on May
20, 2019. The Step-II grievance responder indicated that
Plaintiff's vision did not qualify for issuance of
bifocals, as his need for distance correction was mild.
Because policy does not authorize more than one pair of
glasses per exam, Plaintiff was issued one pair of reading
glasses, though he was informed that he could purchase a pair
of distance glasses at his own expense. (Step-II Grievance
Response, ECF No. 1-1, PageID.18.)
alleges that Defendant Dr. Pierce, by not ordering bifocals
or two pairs of glasses and by not ensuring that the reading
glasses were actually ordered, was deliberately indifferent
to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. Plaintiff seeks
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).