Young v. Jackson et al
ORDER granting 8 Motion to Dismiss; adopting 22 Report and Recommendation ; finding as moot 29 Motion to Strike. Signed by District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow. (MLan)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 12-12751
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
ARTHUR J. TARNOW
LATOYA JACKSON, ET AL.,
MAGISTRATE JUDGE MONA K. MAJZOUB
ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
 AND GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS 
Now before the Court is the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) ,
recommending that Defendant Michigan Department of Corrections’ Motion to Dismiss  be
GRANTED. Plaintiff has filed several Objections  to the R&R.
For the reasons stated below, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss  is GRANTED.
II. Procedural Background
On June 22, 2012, Plaintiff Ardra Young, currently a prisoner at the Carson City
Correctional Facility in Carson City, Michigan, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. The Complaint 
alleges that Defendants LaToya Jackson, Vindha Jayawardena, Michigan Department of Corrections
(MDOC), and Prison Healthcare Services, Inc. acted in deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s medical
needs, in violation of the Eight Amendment of the United States Constitution. Plaintiff seeks
compensatory damages, punitive damages, actual damages, and injunctive relief.
On July 30, 2012, MDOC filed its Motion to Dismiss . Plaintiff filed a Response  on
August 9, 2012, and Amended Response  on November 13, 2012. On October 25, 2012, this Court
entered an Order  referring all pretrial matters to the Magistrate Judge.
On December 20, 2012, the Magistrate Judge issued her Report and Recommendation .
Following a delay in the service of the R&R to Plaintiff, Plaintiff filed Objections  to the R&R
on January 28, 2013.
III. Factual Background
The R&R sets out the facts of the case in a clear fashion, and the Court adopts the facts as set
out in the R&R.
IV. Standard of Review
This Court reviews objections to an R&R on a dispositive motion de novo. See 28 U.S.C.
In considering a motion to dismiss, all well-pled allegations in the complaint must be taken
as true and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 9394 (2007). To survive a motion to dismiss or for judgment on the pleadings, a complaint must “state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).
“While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual
allegations. When they are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and
then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.
Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009).
Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge’s finding that the Eleventh Amendment to the United
States Constitution provides Defendant MDOC absolute immunity from Plaintiff’s claims.
Specifically, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge misapplied Thiokol Corp. v. Department of
Treasury, Revenue Div., 987 F.2d 376 (6th Cir. 1993), Johnson v. Dellatifa, 357 F.3d 539 (6th Cir.
2004), Hutsell v. Sayre, 5 F.3d 996 (6th Cir. 1993), and Kovacevich v. Kent State Univ., 224 F.3d 806
(6th Cir. 2000). Plaintiff also objects based on a reiteration of the claim that Plaintiff is entitled to
First, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge failed to consider the full reach of Thiokol. In
Thiokol, the court held that the Eleventh Amendment bars all claims “whether for injunctive,
declaratory or monetary relief, against the state and its departments....The amendment also bars suits
for monetary relief against state officials sued in their official capacity. However the amendment does
not preclude actions against state officials sued in their official capacity for prospective injunctive or
declaratory relief.” Thiokol, 987 F.2d at 381 (citations omitted). Plaintiff relies on this last sentence
to argue that Eleventh Amendment immunity does not shield Defendant MDOC from Plaintiff’s
request for injunctive relief. However, Plaintiff misreads this portion of the holding in Thiokol because
it provides a limited exception specifically for “officials sued in their official capacity.” This exception
does not apply to Defendant MDOC, because Defendant is a department of the state, rather than an
individual official. See Peoples v. Michigan Dep't of Corrections, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 4971, at *4
(6th Cir. Mich. Mar. 21, 2000)(“When the State or one of its agencies or departments is named as the
defendant in a federal suit, the Eleventh Amendment applies regardless of whether the suit seeks
injunctive or monetary relief.”)
Next, Plaintiff argues that Johnson allows Plaintiff to make a § 1983 claim against Defendant
MDOC when seeking injunctive rather than monetary relief. Plaintiff points to the court’s note that
the plaintiff in that case “could have avoided this sovereign immunity bar by suing for injunctive or
declaratory relief, or by suing the defendants in their individual, rather than official, capacities.”
Johnson, 357 F.3d at n.1. Again, Plaintiff misapplies the holding in Johnson to this case. Johnson
involves a suit against an individual in their official capacity. As a state agency, Defendant MDOC
does not fall into this category, and therefore Johnson does not effect MDOC’s Eleventh Amendment
immunity from suit.
Third, Plaintiff objects to the portion of the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation that is based
upon Hutsell. As cited in the R&R, the court in Hutsell holds that “Congress has not abrogated state
sovereign immunity in suits under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.” Hutsell, 5 F.3d at 999 (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted). Plaintiff argues that this principle is overridden by the specific holding that “[i]t
is well-settled that a suit in federal court by private parties seeking to impose a liability which must
be paid from public funds in the state treasury is barred by the Eleventh Amendment.” Id. Based upon
this sentence, Plaintiff asserts that this Court must assess whether liability against Defendant MDOC
would be paid from the state treasury in order to evaluate MDOC’s Eleventh Amendment immunity.
However, the court goes on to note that Eleventh Amendment immunity “turns on whether said agency
or institution can be characterized as an arm or alter ego of the state, or whether it should be treated
instead as a political subdivision of the state.” Id. As in Hutsell, Defendant MDOC is a state agency,
and is immune from Plaintiff’s suit. See Peoples, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 4971, at *4 (6th Cir. Mich.
Mar. 21, 2000); see also Sanders v. Prison Health Serv., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153687, at *8-13 (
E.D. Mich. Sept. 7, 2011); Mich. Prot. & Advocacy Serv. v. Caruso, 581 F. Supp. 2d 847, 854-857
(W.D. Mich. 2008).
Next, Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge incorrectly holds that Kovacevich minimizes
Plaintiff’s reliance on VIBO Corp. v. Conway, 669 F.3d 675 (6th Cir. 2012). In VIBO, the court holds
that a “state may lose sovereign immunity where the state consents to litigation, where the state is
alleged to have acted unconstitutionally, or where Congress abrogates sovereign immunity.” VIBO,
699 F.3d at 691 (citing Kovacevich , 224 F.3d at 817). Plaintiff asserts that Defendant MDOC has lost
any immunity because of Plaintiff’s allegation that MDOC acted unconstitutionally. However, as the
Magistrate Judge notes, the VIBO court specifically cites to Kovacevich, which stands for the long
upheld proposition that while a suit against a state actor for injunctive relief is allowed in the case of
a constitutional violation, suits against the state or state agencies are not permitted. See S&M Brands,
Inc. v. Cooper, 527 F.3d 500, 507 (6th Cir. 2008) (“Under the Ex parte Young exception, a federal
court can issue prospective injunctive and declaratory relief compelling a state official to comply with
federal law.”) Moreover, this portion of VIBO addresses the issue of Congressional abrogation of
sovereign immunity for individual Defendants acting in their official capacity, which again is
inapplicable to Defendant MDOC.
Finally, Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge’s R&R, arguing that Plaintiff is entitled to
injunctive relief from all Defendants. However, because the Court’s consideration here is limited to
Defendant MDOC’s Motion to Dismiss , and because Defendant MDOC is shielded by Eleventh
Amendment immunity, Plaintiff’s last objection is without merit.
The Court having reviewed the record in this case, the Report and Recommendation  of
the Magistrate Judge is hereby ADOPTED as the findings of the Court. Defendant MDOC’s Motion
to Dismiss  is GRANTED and Plaintiff’s Objections  are DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to have his Emergency Motion 
Seeking Service of the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation and Enlargement of Time
Mooted or Otherwise Stricken from the Court's Docket  now MOOT.
s/Arthur J. Tarnow
Arthur J. Tarnow
Dated: March 20, 2013
Senior United States District Judge
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify on February 28, 2013 that I electronically filed the foregoing paper with the Clerk of the Court sending
notification of such filing to all counsel registered electronically. I hereby certify that a copy of this paper was mailed to the following
non-registered ECF participants on February 28, 2013: Ardra Young.
s/Michael E. Lang
Deputy Clerk to
District Judge Arthur J. Tarnow
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?