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Watkins v. Martin

United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 7, 2020

NAPOLEAN WATKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
K. MARTIN et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          Paul L. Maloney, United States District Judge.

         This is 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 claim.

         Discussion

         I. Factual allegations

         Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Ionia Correctional Facility (ICF) in Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan. The events about which he complains occurred at that facility and the Marquette Branch Prison (MBP) in Marquette, Marquette County, Michigan, the Muskegon Correctional Facility (MCF) in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan, and the Carson City Correctional Facility (DRF) in Carson City, Montcalm County, Michigan.

         Plaintiff sues Case Manager K. Martin, Psychiatrist Esmaeil Emami, Psychologist Mark Fox, mental health professional Meghan McGillis, Psychologist J. Guastella, Psychiatrist Richard Myers, Psychiatrist Unknown Meaden, Psychologist Unknown Harris, Unknown Parties employed by Corrections Mental Health, and Mental Health Supervisor Unknown Maranka.

         Plaintiff alleges that in 2014, while he was confined at DRF, he was placed on Effexor. Plaintiff states that he has bipolar disorder and that being on Effexor caused him to become stuck in a manic state for five years, until he was finally removed from the Effexor in July of 2019. Plaintiff states that while in a manic state, he is extremely aggressive, violent, impulsive, and volatile. Plaintiff suffers from psychotic episodes when he is stressed and aggravated. Plaintiff further states that for the last three years that he was taking Effexor, he was on a dose that exceeded the maximum recommended dose.

         Plaintiff contends that because of the medication he was taking, he received numerous misconduct tickets. Plaintiff states that every time he had a hearing, the mental health supervisor at each prison failed to advocate for him and denied that Plaintiff's mental health had anything to do with his behavior. Plaintiff asserts that the Effexor immediately caused a radical change in his behavior and that the failure to remove him from the drug resulted in him receiving between 70 and 80 misconduct tickets between 2014 and 2019. In addition, Plaintiff has been labeled a behavior problem. Finally, Plaintiff states that while on Effexor, he did not have an appetite and lost a significant amount of weight, with his weight dropping to as low as 138 pounds.

         Plaintiff states that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff seeks to have his misconduct record cleared of all tickets he received while on Effexor, $100 a day for the time he was on loss of privileges or in segregation, $250, 000 in damages for pain and suffering, and an extra tray for each meal to compensate for his lack of appetite while on Effexor.

         II. Failure to state a claim

         A 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)).

         To 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).

         III. Eighth Amendment

         Plaintiff states that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment. The Eighth Amendment prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment against those convicted of crimes. U.S. Const. amend. VIII. The Eighth Amendment obligates prison authorities to provide medical care to incarcerated individuals, as a failure to provide such care would be inconsistent with contemporary standards of decency. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 102, 103-04 (1976). This includes medically necessary mental health treatment. Id. at 103; Government of the Virgin Islands v. Martinez, 239 F.3d 293, 301 (3d Cir. 2001); Lay v. Norris, No. 88-5757, 1989 WL 62498, at *4 (6th Cir. June 13, 1989); Potter v. Davis, No. 82-5783, 1985 WL 13129, at * 2 (6th Cir. April 26, ...


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