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 complaint for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Alger Correctional Facility (LMF)
in Alger County, Michigan. The events about which he
complains, however, occurred at the Chippewa Correctional
Facility (URF) in Chippewa County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues
URF Correctional Officers Unknown Greenleaf and Unknown
Durant, and URF Lieutenant Unknown Bigger.
alleges that on August 11, 2018, he came out to the unit yard
for recreation. Defendant Greenleaf shook Plaintiff down
while stating “Where are the gambling slips at?”
(Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.7.) When Greenleaf did not find
any gambling slips he stated: “I will get your black
ass soon watch and see.” (Id.) Plaintiff then
made a verbal complaint to Defendant Bigger regarding
Greenleaf's “actions and conduct.”
(Id.) Greenleaf escorted another prisoner to
proceeded to play basketball on the yard. He took his pants
off and placed them on a nearby bench. Greenleaf returned and
searched Plaintiff's pants. Greenleaf discovered pills.
Greenleaf stated: “I finally got you.”
(Id.) Plaintiff protested that anyone could have
planted the pills in his pants. He asked Greenleaf to review
the camera footage of the yard, but Greenleaf refused.
Greenleaf wrote a Class I misconduct against Plaintiff for
Earnest Brooks confessed to putting the pills in
Plaintiff's pants. (Brooks Aff., ECF No. 1-1,
PageID.14-15.) Brooks does not suggest that any of the
Defendants put him up to it. (Id.) Greenleaf told
Brooks: “I know that Glenn is a drug dealing
nigger.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.7.) Plaintiff then
made a second verbal complaint about Greenleaf to Defendant
asked Bigger to review the camera footage. She refused and
instead told Plaintiff she would make sure he got 30 days and
a visit restriction. (Id.) Plaintiff asked to see a
hearing investigator. Defendant Durant served as the
investigator. Durant also either refused to look at the video
or refused to permit Plaintiff to look at the video.
Officer O'Brien conducted a hearing on the misconduct on
August 20, 2018. She watched the video. She confirmed that
another prisoner walked over to Plaintiff's pants and did
something with them. Because the other prisoner may have put
the pills in the pants, she could not find that Plaintiff was
guilty of the misconduct.
filed a formal complaint with the internal affairs department
seeking a criminal inquiry against Defendants Greenleaf and
Bigger. Plaintiff filed a grievance against the Defendants as
contends that Defendants violated duties spelled out in the
MDOC employee handbook and MDOC policy directives. He claims
that Defendants also violated his rights under the First,
Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff seeks a
declaration that Defendants violated his rights as well as
compensatory and punitive damages. Plaintiff also asks the
Court to direct the MDOC to discharge all three Defendants.
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).
Violations of state-law duties
under § 1983 can only be brought for “deprivation
of rights secured by the constitution and laws of the United
States.” Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S.
922, 924 (1982). Section 1983 does not provide redress for a
violation of a state law. Pyles v. Raisor, 60 F.3d
1211, 1215 (6th Cir. 1995); Sweeton v. Brown, 27
F.3d 1162, 1166 (6th Cir. 1994). Defendants' alleged
failures to comply with an administrative rule or policy does
not itself rise to the level of a constitutional violation.
Laney v. Farley, 501 F.3d 577, 581 n.2 (6th Cir.
2007); Brody v. City of Mason, 250 F.3d 432, 437
(6th Cir. 2001); Smith v. Freland, 954 F.2d 343,
347-48 (6th Cir. 1992); Barber v. City of Salem, 953
F.2d 232, 240 (6th Cir. 1992); McVeigh v. Bartlett,
No. 94-23347, 1995 WL 236687, at *1 (6th Cir. Apr. 21, 1995)
(failure to follow policy directive does not rise to the
level of a constitutional violation because policy directive
does not create a protectible liberty interest).
to the extent that Plaintiff intended to raise the violations
of the MDOC employee handbook or MDOC policy directives as
state law claims, the Court will not consider them. For the
reasons set forth below, all of Plaintiff's federal
claims are properly dismissed. “Where a district court
has exercised jurisdiction over a state law claim solely by
virtue of supplemental jurisdiction and the federal claims
are dismissed prior to trial, the state law claims should be
dismissed without reaching their merits.” Coleman
v. Huff, No. 97-1916, 1998 WL 476226, at *1 (6th Cir.
Aug. 3, 1998) (citing Faughender v. City of N. Olmsted,
Ohio, 927 F.2d 909, 917 (6th Cir. 1991)); see also
Landefeld v. Marion Gen. Hosp., Inc., 994 F.2d
1178, 1182 (6th Cir. 1993). As set forth below, none of
Plaintiff's federal claims survive initial review under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The balance of the ...