United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER (1) SUMMARILY DISMISSING COMPLAINT (ECF NO. 1)
AND (2) CERTIFYING THAT AN APPEAL CANNOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD
MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Omar Khattim Ali is a state prisoner currently confined at
the Chippewa Correctional Facility in Kincheloe, Michigan. On
December 9, 2019, Ali, proceeding pro se, filed this
civil-rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
(former) Livingston County District Court Judge Theresa
Brennan. (See Compl., ECF No. 1.) Ali seeks monetary
damages and injunctive relief. (See id.)
December 16, 2019, the Court granted Ali's application to
proceed in forma puaperis in this action.
(See Order, ECF No. 4.) Under the Prison Litigation
Reform Act of 1996, the Court is required to 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). The
Court is similarly 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. A complaint is frivolous
if it lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact. See
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
should construe a pro se civil rights complaint
liberally. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
520-21 (1972). Nonetheless, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8(a) requires that a complaint 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)(2), (3). The
purpose of this rule is to “give the defendant fair
notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted). While this notice
pleading standard does not require “detailed”
factual allegations, it does require more than the bare
assertion of legal principles or conclusions.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Rule 8 “demands more
than an unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed me
accusation.” 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 assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). This standard applies
fully to complaints filed by pro se filers.
See, e.g., Hill v. Lappin, 630
F.3d 468, 470-471 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding that the dismissal
standard of Iqbal applies to a Court's review of
a complaint under § 1915(e)(2)(B) for failure to state a
state a civil-rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege that: (1) he or she 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. See Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149,
155-57 (1978); Harris v. Circleville, 583 F.3d 356,
364 (6th Cir. 2009). Additionally, a plaintiff must allege
that the deprivation of rights was intentional, not merely
negligent. See Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344, 348
names Judge Brennan as the sole Defendant in this action.
Ali's Complaint, however, in unclear as to the specific
allegations of unconstitutional conduct by Judge Brennan.
Simply put, Ali's Complaint does not satisfy the pleading
requirements of Rule 8(a) discussed above. Rather, his
Complaint is rambling, full of legalese, lacks specificity as
to potentially discernible factual allegations, and is
difficult to follow. Ali fails to plead a clear and concise
statement of factual allegations of unconstitutional conduct
against Judge Brennan (or any others referenced in his
pleadings). Ali's Complaint is therefore subject to
dismissal under Rule 8 and Iqbal.
to the extent that Ali attempts to allege a violation of his
Eighth Amendment rights - though Ali's Complaint is far
from clear, he appears to allege that his received inadequate
medical care, was deprived of the use of a bath and shower,
was deprived for some period of time from using the bathroom,
was required to wear the same underwear for weeks at a time,
and was put in four-point restraints - he fails to allege
facts which could tend to establish that Judge Brennan (the
only named Defendant) has any connection to those actions. It
is well-settled that a civil-rights plaintiff must allege the
personal involvement of a defendant to state a claim under
§ 1983 and that liability cannot be based upon a theory
of respondeat superior or vicarious liability.
See Monell v. Department of Social Svs., 436 U.S.
658, 691-92 (1978). Furthermore, while Ali lists other
people, facilities, and prison positions in his Complaint, he
does not name any of these individuals or entities as
Defendants, nor does he link them to specific factual
allegations concerning his conditions of confinement or
otherwise state potential claims against them. Conclusory
allegations are insufficient to state a civil-rights claim
under § 1983. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678;
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-57. Thus, Ali fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
of the reasons stated above, the Court concludes that Ali
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Accordingly, the Court
DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE Ali's
civil-rights Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b).
the Court certifies that an appeal from this decision cannot
be taken in good faith. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915(a)(3); Coppedge ...