United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Steven Whalen Mag. Judge
ORDER: (1) GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
[ECF 11]; (2) DISMISSING AS MOOT PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR
DEFAULT JUDGMENT [ECF 24], DEFAULT SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF 25],
WRIT OF MANDAMUS [ECF. 27], AND MOTION FOR SANCTIONS [ECF
37]; AND (3) DISMISSING ACTION.
VICTORIA A. ROBERTS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
10, 2018, officers took Vernon Coleman
(“Coleman”) into custody at the Detroit
Metropolitan Airport passenger security checkpoint.
claims to have been detained for four days in solitary
confinement in his complaint - although his brief in
opposition to Defendants' motion to dismiss states that
he had been detained only three days. Among other things,
Coleman alleges he received only a half sandwich a day while
in custody. He claims that Defendants did not allow him to
take a shower and denied him access to hygiene products.
time of his arrest, Coleman was on supervised release after
pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to
distribute at least five kilograms of a mixture and substance
containing cocaine. (United States v. Coleman, No.
1:07-CR-233 (N.D.Ga. Jan. 25, 2019) (ECF 804)). The court
sentenced him on January 26, 2011 in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to 87
months in prison followed by 5 years supervised release.
direct result of these airport events on July 10, 2018, the
Northern District of Georgia revoked Coleman's supervised
release and sentenced him to 24 months
incarceration. Coleman is a federal inmate incarcerated
at the Federal Correctional Institution in Jesup, Georgia. It
does not appear that Coleman faced any state charges
following events of July 10, 2018.
the Court is Coleman's pro se civil rights
complaint alleging Defendants violated his First (denial of
access to courts), Fifth and Fourteenth (loss of liberty
without due process), Eighth (cruel and unusual punishment),
and Sixth (inability to defend himself) Amendment rights.
filed this motion to dismiss. The Court grants it.
Coleman's complaint is Dismissed With
Prejudice for failing to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
pro se civil rights complaint is to be construed
liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21
(1972). A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) tests a complaint's legal sufficiency.
The federal rules require that a complaint contain a
“short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). The purpose of this rule is to “give the
defendant fair notice of what the … claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)(quoting Conley
v. Gibson, 335 U.S. 41, 47 (1957).
“[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible where the facts
allow the Court to infer that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged. Id. This requires more than
“bare assertions of legal conclusions”; a
plaintiff must provide the “grounds” of his or
her “entitlement to relief.” League of United
Latin Am. Citizens v. Bredesen, 500 F.3d 523, 527 (6th
Cir. 2007); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (while detailed
factual allegations are not required, a pleading must offer
more than “labels and conclusions” or “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of the cause of
action”). Ultimately, the question is “‘not
whether [the plaintiff] will ultimately prevail' . . .
but whether [the] complaint [is] sufficient to cross the
federal court's threshold.” Skinner v.
Switzer, 562 U.S. 521, 529-30 (2011) (citations
deciding a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must
construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, accept as true all well-pled factual allegations,
and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.
Bassett v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n,
528 F.3d 426, 430 (6th Cir. 2008). The Court “may
consider the Complaint and any exhibits attached thereto,
public records, items appearing in the record of the case and
exhibits attached to defendant's motion to dismiss so
long as they are referred to in the Complaint and are central
to the claims.” Id.
Heck Bars Some Of Coleman's Claims
contend that Coleman's First (denial of access to
courts), Fifth and Fourteenth (loss of liberty without due
process), and Sixth (access to lawyer to defend against
charges) Amendment claims are barred by Heck because
Coleman seeks money damages that call into question a
conviction or sentence. Since Coleman says he sought counsel
to defend against charges, presumably he challenges the
revocation of his supervised release since he faced no other
seeks injunctive, punitive, and monetary relief for alleged
violations of constitutional rights related to his
conviction. The Heck Court held that “in order
to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction
or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a
§1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or
sentence has been [overturned].” Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994).
does not allege that either his conviction or sentence has
been overturned or determined to be invalid. His complaint
alleges that conditions surrounding his detention
“violated his constitutional rights.”
extent Coleman's complaint challenges the fact or
duration of his incarceration, it must be dismissed.
Adams v. Morris, 90 Fed.Appx. 856, 858 (6th Cir.
2004) (dismissal appropriate where § 1983 action seeks
equitable relief and challenges fact or duration of
Heck, a state prisoner may not file a §1983
suit for damages or equitable relief if a ruling on his
claims would render a conviction or sentence invalid, until
and unless the conviction or sentence has been reversed on
direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid
by a state tribunal, or called into question by a federal
court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. Id.
at 486-87; Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82
(2005) (“[A] state prisoner's § 1983 action is
barred (absent prior invalidation)-regardless of the relief
sought (damages, injunctive, equitable relief, etc.) and the
target of the prisoner's suit-if success in that action
would necessarily demonstrate the invalidity of confinement
or its duration.”). Coleman does not state that his
sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by
executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal, or
called into question by a federal court's issuance of a
writ of habeas corpus. His claims are barred by
Coleman is challenging the fact or duration of his
confinement, his challenge should have been brought as a
petition for habeas corpus. See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 (1973) (the essence of
habeas corpus is an attack by a person in custody upon the
legality of that custody and the traditional function of the
writ is to secure release from illegal custody); Moore v.
Pemberton, 110 F.3d 22, 23-24 (7th Cir. 1997) (reasons
for not construing a § 1983 action as one seeking habeas
relief include (1) potential application of Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), (2) differing defendants,
(3) differing standards of § ...