United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
J. JONKER, 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 on grounds of immunity and failure
to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF) in
Manistee, Manistee County, Michigan. The events about which
he complains occurred at that facility, as well as at the
many other facilities at which Plaintiff has been housed over
the last 15 years. Plaintiff sues the MDOC and
“Healthcare Contractor Officials, ” as well as
the following officials at ECF: Doctor Crompton and Health
Unit Manager Unknown Monroe.
alleges that the MDOC has failed to provide appropriate care
for his Hepatitis C over the last 15 years. He contends that
he is not receiving a treatment that some other prisoners
have received. He also complains that he continues to be
prescribed Tylenol and Tylenol-containing medication to treat
his pain complaints. According to Plaintiff, Tylenol can
cause liver problems for some persons with Hepatitis C.
saw Defendant Crompton on May 30, 2019, and Defendant Monroe
responded to one of his kites around the same time. Plaintiff
has been advised that he is being offered treatments
consistent with a protocol paralleling other publicly funded
Hepatitis C treatment programs. According to the grievance
responses, a change in criteria for program eligibility is
expected late this year, which should make Plaintiff eligible
for the intervention he seeks. In the interim, Plaintiff has
a chronic care appointment every three months, which is
preceded by lab work, in order to monitor his condition.
(Step-I and Step-II Grievance Responses, ECF No. 1-1,
contends that Defendants are depriving him of necessary
medical care and are deliberately indifferent to his serious
medical need. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief in the form
of proper treatment, together with monetary 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).
may not maintain a §1983 action against the MDOC.
Regardless of the form of relief requested, the states and
their departments are immune under the Eleventh Amendment
from suit in the federal courts, unless the state has waived
immunity or Congress has expressly abrogated Eleventh
Amendment immunity by statute. See Pennhurst State Sch.
& Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 98-101 (1984);
Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978);
O'Hara v. Wigginton, 24 F.3d 823, 826 (6th Cir.
1993). Congress has not expressly abrogated Eleventh
Amendment immunity by statute, Quern v. Jordan, 440
U.S. 332, 341 (1979), and the State of Michigan has not
consented to civil rights suits in federal court. Abick
v. Michigan, 803 F.2d 874, 877 (6th Cir. 1986). In
numerous opinions, the Sixth Circuit has specifically held
that the MDOC is absolutely immune from suit under the
Eleventh Amendment. See, e.g., Harrison
v. Michigan, 722 F.3d 768, 771 (6th Cir. 2013); Diaz
v. Mich. Dep't of Corr., 703 F.3d 956, 962 (6th Cir.
2013); McCoy v. Michigan, 369 Fed.Appx. 646, 653-54
(6th Cir. 2010). In addition, the State of Michigan (acting
through the MDOC) is not a “person” who may be
sued under §1983 for money damages. See Lapides v.
Bd. of Regents, 535 U.S. 613, 617 (2002) (citing
Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S.
58, 66 (1989)); Harrison, 722 F.3d at 771.
Therefore, the Court dismisses the MDOC.