United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Honorable Paul L. Maloney 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.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Lakeland Correctional Facility
(LCF) in Branch County, Michigan. The events about which he
complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues LCF
Classification Director Scott Cline.
alleges that during April of 2016, LCF Deputy Warden L.
Beckwith issued a memorandum to the LCF staff and inmates
giving notice that a prisoner who has been terminated from an
assignment may not request reclassification to that
assignment until 120 days after the date of termination.
(Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.6-7.) Additionally, the memorandum
stated that “any prisoner found guilty of a misconduct
for theft while on his Food Service Assignment will not be
rehired in Food Service at LCF.” (Id.,
was working at LCF Food Service when, on June 7, 2016, a
misconduct ticket for theft was written against him.
Plaintiff pleaded guilty to the charge. On April 17, 2017,
Plaintiff made a written request for reclassification to food
service, specifically a food service position in A unit. The
classification department informed Plaintiff that no
positions were available in A unit.
months later, Plaintiff spoke to his unit counselor about
being reclassified to A unit food service. Counselor Stahly
submitted the request for reclassification. On July 30, 2018,
Defendant Cline denied the request based on Plaintiff's
prior theft from the kitchen.
October 30, 2018, Plaintiff sent another written request to
Cline to be reclassified to food service, claiming that Cline
was biased in that he had reclassified prisoner Stephen Floyd
to a food service position 90 days after prisoner Floyd
pleaded guilty to theft. Cline stated to Plaintiff that under
LCF policy, he would not place Plaintiff back into the food
filed a grievance against Cline. The grievance was denied at
all three steps of the administrative grievance process.
claims that Cline's refusal to reclassify Plaintiff to a
food service position, considered with his willingness to
reclassify prisoner Floyd, and another prisoner, Carl Thomas,
is a violation of Plaintiff's rights under the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Plaintiff's complaint indicates that there are other
prisoners who were fired for theft and then reclassified to
food service. (Id., PageID.9.) Those prisoners,
Plaintiff claims, are unwilling to step forward because they
fear reprisals. Similarly, Plaintiff claims there are other
prisoners in Plaintiff's position-prisoners who have been
fired for theft and Defendant Cline refuses to reclassify
them to food service. (Id., PageID.10.) Plaintiff
seeks a declaration that Defendant Cline violated his rights
as well as 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 ...