United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern 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 Marquette Branch Prison (MBP) in
Marquette, Marquette County, Michigan. The events about which
he complains, however, occurred at the Baraga Correctional
Facility (AMF) in Baraga, Baraga County, Michigan. Plaintiff
sues Corrections Officer Unknown Datto and Classification
Director Unknown Adams.
alleges that on May 26, 2019, Defendant Datto submitted a
work report requesting that Plaintiff be removed from his
level 5 kitchen job. Plaintiff told Defendant Datto that
corrections officers were not kitchen supervisors and that
Defendant Datto had no authority to file a report regarding
Plaintiff's work classification. Defendant Datto
responded that Plaintiff was a prisoner and that he would
teach Plaintiff not to talk back. On June 3, 2019, Defendant
Datto filed a second work report requesting Plaintiff's
removal from his job.
Adams subsequently removed Plaintiff from his job. Plaintiff
protested this action and told Defendant Adams that Defendant
Datto did not have the authority to remove Plaintiff from his
job. Defendant Adams responded that she and Defendant Datto
had talked, and that she had decided to remove Plaintiff from
his job “anyway.” Plaintiff states that his
kitchen supervisors expressed frustration with
Plaintiff's removal from the job, but did not have the
authority to change Defendant Adams' decision.
contends that Defendants' conduct violated his rights
under the First, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff
seeks damages and injunctive 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).
claims that Defendants violated his First Amendment right to
be free from retaliation. 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 (1977)).
noted above, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Datto attempted
to have him removed from his job assignment by filing a false
work report, and that when he complained about it, Defendant
Datto filed a second report in retaliation for
Plaintiff's complaint. Defendant Adams subsequently
decided to remove Plaintiff from his job assignment. For
purposes of this opinion, the Court assumes that
Plaintiff's complaint to Defendant Datto constitutes
protected conduct. However, Plaintiff fails to allege ...