United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
L. Maloney 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 for failure to state a claim.
is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) at the Lakeland Correctional Facility
(LCF) in Coldwater, Branch County, Michigan. The events about
which he complains occurred at the LCF. Plaintiff sues Food
Service Supervisor Unknown Newsome, Sergeant Unknown Brand,
and Physician Assistant M. Ouellette.
alleges that he is an elderly prisoner who has medical issues
and eats on the Chow Hall Diet Lines, which is separate from
the general population food serving lines. Plaintiff states
that on May 30, 2019, he entered the food service area for
his diet line noon meal, which is commonly referred to as the
Early Diet Line Chow. As Plaintiff entered the food line to
receive his tray, a white inmate who was working on the line
became hostile and argued loudly with Plaintiff. Plaintiff
took his meal and sat at a table but was so nervous that he
could not finish eating. Plaintiff turned in his tray and
tried to leave the chow hall, but as he approached the exit,
the inmate kitchen worker who had harassed Plaintiff ran over
and hit Plaintiff in the back of the head. Plaintiff lost
consciousness and fell to the floor. After approximately one
minute, Plaintiff regained consciousness and left the chow
Plaintiff exited the chow hall, Defendant Brand and another
officer had Plaintiff escorted to health care. Plaintiff was
subsequently taken to the hospital where he was found to have
a lump and swelling on the back of his head. Plaintiff claims
that both Defendants Newsome and Brand heard Plaintiff's
attacker yelling at Plaintiff, but failed to intervene in
order to protect Plaintiff from being assaulted.
31, 2019, June 5, 2019, and June 11, 2019, Plaintiff
requested medical attention for headaches related to his
injury. Plaintiff's requests were denied by Defendant
Ouellette, who stated that she was not going to waste
taxpayer's money. On August 6, 2019, Plaintiff was
finally sent to Henry Ford Hospital for a C.T. scan. On
October 3, 2019, Plaintiff had an EKG and pain medication was
ordered for him. Plaintiff complained that the medication was
not working and Defendant Ouellette increased his medication
dosage despite the fact that Plaintiff was sixty-seven years
old and had a liver disorder. Defendant Ouellette told
Plaintiff that she would not waste taxpayer's money by
sending Plaintiff for an MRI. Plaintiff filed grievances
regarding the failure to protect and the denial of medical
treatment, but his grievances were rejected at each step.
states that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth
Amendment. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages,
as well as equitable relief.
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).
asserts Eighth Amendment claims against each of the named
Defendants. The Eighth Amendment imposes a constitutional
limitation on the power of the states to punish those
convicted of crimes. Punishment may not be
“barbarous” nor may it contravene society's
“evolving standards of decency.” Rhodes v.
Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 345-46 (1981). The Amendment,
therefore, prohibits conduct by prison officials that
involves the “unnecessary and wanton infliction of
pain.” Ivey v. Wilson, 832 F.2d 950, 954 (6th
Cir. 1987) (per curiam) (quoting Rhodes, 452 U.S. at
346). The deprivation alleged must result in the denial of
the “minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities.” Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 347; see
also Wilson v. Yaklich, 148 F.3d 596, 600-01 (6th Cir.
1998). The Eighth Amendment is only concerned with
“deprivations of essential food, medical care, or
sanitation” or “other conditions intolerable for