United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
J. JONKER CHIEF 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 against Defendant Herring for
failure to state a claim.
is presently detained at the Chippewa County Jail located in
Sault Sainte Marie, Chippewa County, Michigan, where he is
apparently awaiting trial on charges related to the
possession or manufacture of methamphetamine. Plaintiff sues
Detective Ryan Herring.
alleges that Defendant, along with other law enforcement
personnel, executed a search warrant at 230 Ferris Street and
232 Ferris Street in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. The search
yielded evidence of the manufacture of methamphetamines at
the 232 Ferris Street address. Plaintiff alleges, however,
that he lived at 230 Ferris Street and no such evidence was
discovered at his home. He further asserts that the warrant,
and the affidavit offered to support the warrant, are
“flagrantly unconstitutional” and connected to a
“bad faith investigation.” (Compl., ECF No. 1,
PageID.7.) As a result of the allegedly unconstitutional
warrant, Plaintiff was “arrested and charged with 9
counts of various charges of methamphetamine production or
its components and 4 counts dealing with firearms.”
(Id., PageID.6-7.) Plaintiff further contends that
the evidence seized from 232 Ferris Street cannot be used
against him because he did not live at that residence, but
his efforts to suppress the evidence have failed because he
current lawsuit is substantially the same as Plaintiff's
earlier suit against “Deputy Sheriff Ryan
Hering.” Raab v. Hering, No. 2:19-cv-112, 2019
WL 3315229 (W.D. Mich. July 24, 2019). That case was
dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to state a claim.
Id., at *2. Plaintiff did not appeal. Notwithstanding
the minute inconsistency of the defendant's name, the
cases overlap with largely the same indistinct claims. In
both cases Plaintiff has challenged the validity of the
evidence seized against him during the searches of 230 and
232 Ferris Street. Similarly, Plaintiff has alleged in both
cases that Defendant pursued the investigation “in bad
faith, ” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.6) or
“unethical[ly], ” (Pl.'s Br. Supp. Compl.,
Raab v. Hering, No. 2:19-cv-112, ECF No. 1-1,
instant suit, Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages of $100,
000 and punitive damages of $1, 000, 000.
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).
Plaintiff appears to allege violations of the Fourth and
claims in this lawsuit are barred by the res judicata effect
of the court's decision in the prior lawsuit. The
doctrine of claim preclusion, sometimes referred to as res
judicata, provides that if an action results in a judgment on
the merits, that judgment operates as an absolute bar to any
subsequent action on the same cause between the same parties
or their privies, with respect to every matter that was
actually litigated in the first case, as well as every ground
of recovery that might have been presented. Black v.
Ryder/P.I.E. Nationwide, Inc., 15 F.3d 573, 582 (6th
Cir. 1994); see Kremer v. Chemical Const. Corp., 456
U.S. 461, 467 n.6 (1982); see also Bowen v. Gundy,
No. 96-2327, 1997 WL 778505, at * 1 (6th Cir. Dec. 8, 1997).
Claim preclusion operates to relieve parties of the cost and
vexation of multiple lawsuits, conserve judicial resources,
and by preventing inconsistent decisions, encourage reliance
on adjudication. Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 94
(1980). In order to apply the doctrine of claim preclusion,
the court must find that (1) the previous lawsuit ended in a
final judgment on the merits; (2) the previous lawsuit was
between the same parties or their privies; and (3) the
previous lawsuit involved the same claim or cause of action
as the present case. Allen, 449 U.S. at 94;
accord Federated Dep't Stores, Inc. v. Moitie,
452 U.S. 394, 398 (1981).
doctrine of res judicata further mandates that those who have
contested an issue be bound by the results of the contest.
Baldwin v. Traveling Men's Ass'n, 283 U.S.
522, 525 (1931). An action that is barred by res judicata is
legally frivolous. See, e.g., Taylor v.
Reynolds, 22 Fed.Appx. 537, 538 (6th Cir. 2001);
Hill v. Elting, 9 Fed.Appx. 321 (6th Cir. 2001).
Even an erroneous conclusion reached by a court in an
original action does not deprive a defendant in a subsequent
action of the right to rely on the plea of res judicata.
Baltimore S.S. Co. v. Phillips, 274 U.S. 316, 325
(1927). It is direct review by appeal, not the filing of new