United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern 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
presently is incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Carson City Correctional Facility
(DRF) in Carson City, Montcalm County, Michigan. The events
about which he complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff
sues three DRF librarians: Unknown Loomis, S. Ricks, and an
unknown female librarian (Unknown Part(y)(ies)).
alleges that, on July 11, 2019, Defendants Loomis and Unknown
Part(y)(ies) and a non-Defendant library tech refused to put
Plaintiff on library call-out so that he could see the legal
writer. On July 16, 2019, Defendant Loomis and other
non-Defendant library officials (J. Kissel and Acting
Librarian Tech Helms) did not place Plaintiff on library
call-out to see a legal writer about filing a writ of
mandamus and a motion under Rule 60(b).
apparently filed one or more grievances. On August 1, 2019,
Defendants Unknown Part(y)(ies) and Ricks sought to have
Plaintiff sign off on his grievance. When Plaintiff refused,
Defendant Ricks told Plaintiff that he was taking Plaintiff
off library call-out and that the legal writer would not be
filing any of his motions at DRF. Grievance Coordinator
Becher (not a Defendant) rejected Plaintiff's Step-I
grievance and refused to provide Plaintiff with a Step-II
grievance form. Plaintiff alleges that six of his grievances
were not processed.
contends that Defendants, by not providing Plaintiff library
call-outs on two dates and threatening to take Plaintiff off
library call-out to see the legal writer, engaged in
harassing conduct. He alleges that Defendants' conduct
violated prison rules concerning the humane treatment of
prisoners and, arguably, the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff also
suggests that Defendants violated prison policy by preventing
him from pursuing his grievances to all three steps of the
grievance process. He also alleges that Defendant Ricks
threatened to prevent him from meeting with the legal writer
and preparing legal filings in retaliation for filing
grievances. In addition, Plaintiff's allegations arguably
demonstrate an intent to claim that he was denied his right
of access to the courts.
seeks compensatory and punitive damages, together with an
injunction disciplining the offending employees.
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).
Violation of Prison Policy
alleges that Defendants violated MDOC Policy Directive (PD)
03.03.130 (Humane Treatment and Living Conditions for
Prisoners) by denying him access to the library on two
occasions and preventing him from exhausting his grievances.
He argues that Defendants' actions amounted to
“Harassment, Intimidation, and tormenting”
Plaintiff. In addition, Plaintiff suggests that Defendant
Ricks' handling of Plaintiff's prison grievance
violated prison policy, presumably PD 03.02.130
alleged failure 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). Section 1983 is addressed to remedying violations
of federal law, not state law. Lugar v. Edmondson Oil