United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
T. Neff, United States District Judge.
a civil rights action brought by a county jail inmate 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 at the Chippewa County Jail in
Sault Sainte Marie, Chippewa County, Michigan. The events
about which he complains occurred while he was housed at that
facility. Plaintiff sues Judge Eric Blubaugh of the 91st
alleges that on November 20, 2019, Judge Blubaugh sentenced
Plaintiff on an unknown offense to time served with a
requirement to complete 160 hours of community service within
120 days. Plaintiff alleges that, under the sentence, he
should have been released that day-November 20, 2019.
However, when Plaintiff inquired why he was returned to jail,
he was told the judge ordered him released on November 27,
2019. At the time Plaintiff signed his complaint on November
21, 2019, he was still in custody.
result of the delayed release from custody, Plaintiff asserts
that he will miss a meeting with a new employer and therefore
have trouble meeting his child support obligations.
seeks compensatory damages in the amount of $12, 600 plus his
child support obligation for at least 60 days.
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).
claims that Judge Blubaugh “made a bad, negligent
decision that has impacted [Plaintiff's] life very
negatively.” (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.2.) Reading
Plaintiff's complaint indulgently, Plaintiff also implies
that Judge Blubaugh violated his due process rights when he
sentenced Plaintiff to custody in the county jail for seven
days beyond that which Plaintiff believes he was actually
sentenced at his hearing. Generally, a judge is absolutely
immune from a suit for monetary damages. Mireles v.
Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 9-10 (1991) (“[I]t is a general
principle of the highest importance to the proper
administration of justice that a judicial officer, in
exercising the authority vested in him, shall be free to act
upon his own convictions, without apprehension of personal
consequences to himself.”) (internal quotations
omitted); Barrett v. Harrington, 130 F.3d 246, 254
(6th Cir. 1997); Barnes v. Winchell, 105 F.3d 1111,
1115 (6th Cir. 1997). Absolute judicial immunity may be
overcome in only two instances. First, a judge is not immune
from liability for non-judicial actions, i.e., actions not
taken in the judge's judicial capacity. Mireles,
502 U.S. at 11; see Forrester v. White, 484 U.S.
219, 229 (1988) (noting that immunity is grounded in
“the nature of the function performed, not the identity
of the actor who performed it”). Second, a judge is not
immune for actions, though judicial in nature, taken in
complete absence of all jurisdiction. Id. at 12.
allegations clearly fail to implicate either of the
exceptions to judicial immunity. There is no doubt that
sentencing Plaintiff was a judicial act and that Judge
Blubaugh was acting within his jurisdiction in doing so.
Accordingly, Judge Blubaugh is absolutely immune from
liability. Because Judge Blubaugh is clearly immune from
liability in this case, ...