United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DISMISSING THE CASE
Stephen J. Murphy, III, United States District Judge.
James Frank Crawford, Jr., a state inmate incarcerated at the
Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan, filed
a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF 1.
Plaintiff alleged that Defendant S. Wayda-Slomski violated
his First, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights when she
refused to make copies of legal documents for him to file in
the United States District Court for the Western District of
Michigan. Id. at 5. Plaintiff also alleged that
Defendant Stacy Ream violated his First Amendment rights when
she refused to process his grievance. Id. On
December 12, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion
to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"). ECF 4. Having
reviewed the complaint, the Court will dismiss the case for
failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires a complaint to set
forth "a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief," as well as
"a demand for the relief sought." Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a). The purpose of the rule is 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)). Although the notice
pleading standard does not require "detailed"
factual allegations, id., it does require more than the bare
assertion of legal conclusions or "an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "A
pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or
'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.'" Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "Nor does a
complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertions'
devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'"
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
the Court granted Plaintiff leave to proceed IFP. ECF 4.
Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"),
the Court must sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis
complaint before service on a defendant if it determines that
the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 42
U.S.C. § 1997e(c); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Similarly, the Court is required to dismiss a complaint
seeking redress against government entities, officers, and
employees that it finds to be frivolous or malicious, fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). A complaint "is
frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in
fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege
that: (1) he was deprived of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the federal Constitution or laws of the United
States, and (2) the deprivation was caused by a person acting
under color of state law. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436
U.S. 149, 155 (1978). Pro se civil rights complaints are
construed liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
states that on August 20, 2019, he went to the prison law
library to make copies of exhibits to reopen two previously
dismissed lawsuits filed in the United States District Court
for the Western District of Michigan. ECF 1, PgID 7. He
alleged that Defendant Wayda-Slomski, a librarian assistant,
refused to make the copies that he needed "to file a new
suit" because he failed to show her a copy of his
complaint. Id. Plaintiff also alleged that Defendant
Ream, a grievance coordinator, refused to process his
grievance regarding Defendant Wyda-Slomski's failure to
make the copies. Id. Plaintiff seeks a total of $15,
000 against each Defendant, and an injunction preventing
Defendant Wayda-Slomski from requiring a copy of a complaint
before making copies, and one against Ream compelling
Defendant Ream to address Plaintiff's grievances.
Id. at 8.
state a claim under [42 U.S.C.] § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution
and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged
deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of
state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48
(1988). With respect to Defendant Wayda- Slomski, it is well
established that prisoners have a constitutionally protected
right of access to the courts under the First and Fourteenth
Amendments. See e.g., Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343,
354 (1996). To state a viable claim for interference with
access to the courts, a plaintiff must show an actual
detriment to a pending or contemplated litigation. See Lewis,
518 U.S. at 349; Dellis v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 257
F.3d 508, 511 (6th Cir. 2001).
underlying cause of action . . . is an element that must be
described in the complaint, just as much as allegations must
describe the official acts frustrating the litigation."
Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 415 (2002).
"Like any other element of an access claim, the
underlying cause of action and its lost remedy must be
addressed by allegations in the complaint sufficient to give
fair notice to a defendant." Id. at 416.
Plaintiff has not alleged actual detriment to a pending or
contemplated case. He references a desire to reopen two
Western District of Michigan cases, but offers no allegations
to support his claim that his ability to avail himself to any
legal remedy has been lost. Plaintiff's first case,
Crawford v. RSPM, No. 1:12-cv-407, ECF 25 (W.D. Mich.
Aug. 6, 2012) (Jonker, C.J.), was dismissed on August 6,
2012, for failure to state a claim and, his second case,
Crawford v. Prison Health Services, No. 1:12-cv-409,
ECF 132 (W.D. Mich. Dec. 11, 2014) (Neff, J.), was dismissed
on December 11, 2014, for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies. Plaintiff failed to assert how he lost his ability
to reopen either of his closed cases because of his uncopied
exhibits, or why the uncopied exhibits are necessary to
reopen the cases. Nor has he alleged how either of his two
cases have substantive merit considering the uncopied
exhibits. Plaintiff also claims that he wishes to file
another lawsuit, ECF 1, PgID 7, but his allegation is
completely conclusory. He alleges no facts regarding the
allegedly contemplated action.
fails to allege a barrier impeding his access to the courts
sufficient to state a constitutional claim. He claims only
that Defendant Wayda-Slomski requested to see a copy of his
underlying complaints before making copies of his proposed
exhibits. Id. at 5. He does not explain how
Defendant Wayda-Slomski's seemingly easy to comply with
requirement was so onerous to his particular situation to
create a constitutional ...