United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
JOSHUA L. ALGER, SR., Plaintiff,
DUNCAN MACLAREN, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL
HONORABLE NANCY G. EDMUNDS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a pro se civil rights case filed under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Joshua L. Alger, Sr., is a Michigan state
prisoner currently incarcerated at the Ionia Correctional
Facility in Ionia, Michigan. Alger, who is proceeding in
forma pauperis, alleges violations of the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments, and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985 &
names thirty-six employees of the Michigan Department of
Corrections (MDOC) as defendants: (1) Duncan MacLaren; (2)
McDowell; (3) Blemke; (4) Jerry Harwood; (5) Patrick
Harrington; (6) Vansloten; (7) Theut; (8) O'Brien; (9)
Unknown Records Office Supervisor (Kinross Correctional
Facility("Kinross")); (10) Unknown Warden (Chippewa
Correctional Facility ("Chippewa")); (11) Unknown
Captain (Chippewa); (12) Unknown Unit Chief (Chippewa); (13)
Unknown Records Office Supervisor (Transfer Coordinator)
(Chippewa); (14) Deputy Warden Floyd; (15) Unknown R.U.M
(Cotton Correctional Facility ("Cotton")); (16)
Chadwell; (17) Unknown Records Office Supervisor (Cotton);
(18) Unknown Captain (Cotton); (19) Unknown Correction
Officer (Cotton); (20) Unknown Medical Provider Doctor
(Cotton); (21) M. Howard; (22) T. Mackie; (23) T. Ball; (24)
Thomas; (25) Jason Erway; (26) Goodspeed (Hearing
Investigator); (27) Peltier, Corrections Officer; (28) Jason
Mucha; (29) Randall Haas (Deputy Warden); (30) G. Stephenson
(Deputy Warden); (31) Stanley Kinner; (32) Walsh; (33)
Bridges (Hearing Investigator); (34) Mona Golson; (35)
Greason; (36) Unknown Records Officer Supervisor (Macomb
seeks monetary, declaratory, and injunctive relief. For the
reasons discussed below, the Court dismisses Alger's
claims filed under the Eighth Amendment, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1985 & 1986, the Religious Freedom Act, his
claims against defendants in their official capacities, and
defendants: (1) Duncan MacLaren; (6) Vansloten; (7) Theut;
(8) O'Brien; (9) Unknown Records Office Supervisor
(Kinross);(10) Unknown Warden; (11) Unknown Captain; (12)
Unknown Unit Chief; (15) Unknown R.U.M. (Cotton); (16)
Chadwell; (17) Unknown Records Office Supervisor (Cotton);
(20) Unknown Medical Provider Doctor (Cotton); (21) M.
Howard; (22) T. Mackie; (23) T. Ball; (26) Good speed; (29)
Randall Haas (30) G. Stephenson; (31) Stanley Kinner; (32)
Walsh; (33) Bridges; (34) Mona Golson; (35) Greason; and (36)
Unknown Records Officer Supervisor.
to the complaint, the occurrences giving rise to this lawsuit
occurred at five different correctional facilities over a
span of over three years, from June 2016 through
today. The events complained of appear to have
been precipitated by a misconduct ticket issued in June 2016
by defendant McDowell, a corrections officer at the Kinross
Correctional Facility. McDowell, Alger alleges, issued the
ticket in retaliation for Alger's threat of litigation.
Alger was found guilty of the misconduct by defendant
hearings officer Theut. Theut sentenced Alger to 30 days top
lock and 30 days loss of privileges.
alleges that, following the misconduct hearing, defendant
corrections officer Mills falsified two misconduct tickets
and planted contraband in Alger's cell to provide the
basis for another misconduct ticket. Defendant corrections
offer Blumke failed to provide him with proper notice of the
new misconduct allegation, and, according to the complaint,
defendant corrections officer Harwood and Harrington
increased Alger's security level in retaliation for his
threatening to take legal action against defendant McDowell.
Defendant hearings officer O'Brien found Alger guilty of
the three additional misconduct charges and imposed 20 days
detention and 90 days loss of privileges.
was then transferred to the Chippewa Correctional Facility.
He claims his transfer was part of a conspiracy by defendants
Jerry Harwood and Patrick Harrington, among others, caused a
security level increase, violated due process, and placed him
in physical danger and mental distress. He alleges that staff
at the Chippewa Correctional Facility conspired to deny him
mental health treatment, access to the courts, charge him
with false misconducts and transfer him in retaliation for
filing grievances about the conditions of his confinement.
point, Alger was transferred to the Cotton Correctional
Facility.He claims defendants Chadwell and an
unknown records office supervisor conspired to initiate his
transfer to a different facility and to improperly place him
in segregation upon his transfer.
Plaintiff challenges his transfers to Oaks Correctional
Facility and Macomb Correctional Facility.
the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 ("PLRA"),
the Court is required to sua sponte dismiss an
in forma pauperis complaint before service if it
determines the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks
monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c); 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B). The Court is similarly required to
dismiss a complaint seeking redress against government
entities, officers, and employees that it finds to be
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A. A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an
arguable basis in law or in fact. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992); Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint set
forth "a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief," as well as
"a demand for the relief sought." Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), (3). The purpose of this rule is to "give the
defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957) and Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). While such notice pleading does not require
detailed factual allegations, it does require more than the
bare assertion of legal conclusions. Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555. Rule 8 "demands more than an unadorned, the
defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation." Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Official Capacity Claims
sues all the defendants in their official capacities for
monetary damages. The Eleventh Amendment, however, bars civil
rights actions against a state and its agencies and
departments unless the state has waived its immunity and
consented to suit or Congress has abrogated that immunity.
Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S.
58, 66 (1989). "The state of Michigan ... has not
consented to being sued in civil rights actions in the
federal courts," Johnson v. Unknown Dellatifa,357 F.3d 539, 545 (6th Cir. 2004) (citing Abick v.
Michigan,803 F.2d 874, 877 (6th Cir. 1986)), and
Congress did not abrogate state sovereign immunity when it
passed § 1983. Chaz Construction, LLC v.
Codell,137 Fed.Appx. 735, 743 (6th Cir. 2005). Eleventh
Amendment immunity "'bars all suits, whether for
injunctive, declaratory or monetary relief against a state
and its agencies.'" McCormick v. Miami
University,693 F.3d 654, 661 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting
Thiokol Corp. v. Department of Treasury, 987 F.2d
376, 381 (6th Cir. 1993)). Additionally, Eleventh Amendment
immunity applies to state employees who are sued in their
official capacities. See Colvin v. Caruso, ...