United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
Honorable Janet T. Neff 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 Goldberg for
failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Muskegon Correctional Facility
(MCF) in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan. The events
about which he complains, however, occurred at the Chippewa
Correctional Facility (URF) in Kincheloe, Chippewa County,
Michigan. Plaintiff sues Corrections Officer Unknown Loponise
and Librarian Unknown Goldberg.
alleges that on July 3, 2018, he turned in a photocopy
request to have his civil suit copied for service of a civil
rights action. Defendant Goldberg refused to make the copies,
stating that she was not going to help Plaintiff in his
lawsuit against her co-workers.
November 12, 2018, Plaintiff was called to the control center
to review a video relating to the early mediation process.
Plaintiff states that after employees at URF were made aware
of Plaintiff's involvement in the early mediation
process, his property was destroyed on three consecutive
days. On November 16, 2018, Defendant Loponise told Plaintiff
that the mediation bullshit had to stop. Defendant Loponise
then destroyed Plaintiff's property by throwing his
clothes and property on the floor, dumping food on
Plaintiff's property and bed. Plaintiff filed a grievance
on Defendant Loponise.
claims that Defendants retaliated against him for filing
lawsuits against MDOC employees. Plaintiff seeks compensatory
and punitive damages.
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).
noted above, Plaintiff claims that Defendants retaliated
against him for filing lawsuits against MDOC employees.
Retaliation based upon a prisoner's exercise of his or
her constitutional rights violates the Constitution. See
Thaddeus-X v. Blatter, 175 F.3d 378, 394 (6th Cir. 1999)
(en banc). In order to set forth a First Amendment
retaliation claim, a plaintiff must establish that: (1) he
was engaged in protected conduct; (2) an adverse action was
taken against him that would deter a person of ordinary
firmness from engaging in that conduct; and (3) the adverse
action was motivated, at least in part, by the protected
conduct. Id. Moreover, a plaintiff must be able to
prove that the exercise of the protected right was a
substantial or motivating factor in the defendant's
alleged retaliatory conduct. See Smith v. Campbell,
250 F.3d 1032, 1037 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing Mount Healthy
City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 287
alleges that he was engaged in protected conduct when he
filed a lawsuit against MDOC employees. Plaintiff alleges
facts which show that his protected conduct was the
motivating factor for Defendant Goldberg's denial of
copies in that Defendant Goldberg told him that she was not
going to give him copies of his complaint for service because
he had sued her co-workers. However, the mere fact that
Defendant Goldberg denied his request for copies is not the
sort of action that would deter an ordinary person from
exercising his rights. Kolanowski v. Lancaster et
al., No. 1:08-cv-1010, *5 (W.D. Mich. Dec. 1, 2008).
Plaintiff's inability to obtain copies from ...