Signil v. Black et al
ORDER of Dismissal. Signed by District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds. (CHem)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
CASE NO. 12-15533
HONORABLE NANCY G. EDMUNDS
OFFICER BLACK, OFFICER THOMAS,
JOHN DOE #1, and JOHN DOE #2,
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Plaintiff Damone Signil is a state prisoner currently incarcerated at Gus Harrison
Correctional Facility in Adrian, Michigan. He recently filed a pro se civil rights complaint
against four state correctional officers whom he has identified as Officer Black, Officer
Thomas, John Doe #1, and John Doe #2.
Plaintiff alleges that, on February 24, 2012, while he was confined at Macomb
Correctional Facility in New Haven, Michigan, a laundry porter by the name of Luttman
interrupted Plaintiff’s conversation with two other inmates. Luttman expressed some
hostility toward Plaintiff and indicated that he wanted to harm Plaintiff and intended to stab
him. Luttman left the area, but returned and threw a window crank at Plaintiff through a slot
in Plaintiff’s cell door. Luttman then walked away. He returned a second time and threw
boiling hot water on Plaintiff’s head and neck. Plaintiff claims that the boiling water
disfigured him and caused him excruciating pain. On or about February 26, 2012, medical
personnel at Macomb Correctional Facility examined Plaintiff and treated him for first- and
Plaintiff faults the defendants for giving Luttman access to the microwave oven,
which Luttman apparently used to boil the water that he threw at Plaintiff. Plaintiff seeks
money damages from the defendants in their personal and official capacities.
II. Standard of Review
Due to Plaintiff's indigence, the Court has granted him permission to proceed without
prepayment of the fees and costs for this action. The Court must dismiss an indigent
prisoner's civil rights complaint against a governmental entity, officer, or employee if the
complaint (1) is frivolous or malicious, (2) fails to state a claim for which relief may be
granted, or (3) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b); Smith v. Campbell, 250 F.3d 1032, 1036 (6th Cir.
A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). While a complaint need not contain "detailed factual
allegations," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), conclusory
statements will not suffice, and only a complaint that states a claim to relief plausible on its
face will survive a motion to dismiss. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56 and 570). "So, to survive scrutiny under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), ‘a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d. 468, 471 (6th
Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
The Court understands the complaint to allege that the defendants should be held
liable for failing to protect Plaintiff from Luttman. An inmate’s conditions of confinement
are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution,
which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment and imposes on prison officials the duty to
take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of inmates. Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 832 (1994).
“In particular, . . . ‘prison officials have a duty . . . to protect
prisoners from violence at the hands of other prisoners.’” Id. at 833 (quoting CortesQuinones v. Jimenez-Nettleship, 842 F.2d 556, 558 (1st Cir. 1988)). Nevertheless,
a prison official violates the Eighth Amendment only when two requirements
are met. First, the deprivation alleged must be, objectively, “sufficiently
serious;” a prison official’s act or omission must result in the denial of “the
minimal civilized measure of life's necessities” . . . .
The second requirement follows from the principle that “only the
unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain implicates the Eighth Amendment.”
To violate the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause, a prison official must
have a “sufficiently culpable state of mind.” In prison-conditions cases that
state of mind is one of “deliberate indifference” to inmate health or safety . .
[A] prison official cannot be found liable under the Eighth Amendment for
denying an inmate humane conditions of confinement unless the official
knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the
official must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn
that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the
Id. at 834, 837 (citations omitted). In other words, “a prison official may be held liable under
the Eighth Amendment for denying humane conditions of confinement only if he knows that
inmates face a substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk by failing to take
reasonable measures to abate it.” Id. at 847.
Plaintiff has not demonstrated that the defendants knew he faced a substantial risk
of serious harm from another inmate. Although he states that Luttman threatened to harm
him, there is no indication in the complaint that the defendants overheard the threat or were
aware of it. Nor is there any indication in Plaintiff’s statement of facts that prison officials
knew about Luttman throwing a window crank at Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that John Doe
#1 observed his injury as he was putting cold water on his face, head, and neck. Plaintiff
also alleges that, after the incident in question, prison officials changed their policy of
allowing laundry porters to open food slots in cell doors. But nothing in the complaint
suggests that prison officials knew Luttman was potentially dangerous, likely to harm
Plaintiff, or untrustworthy. “[P]rison officials who lacked knowledge of a risk cannot be said
to have inflicted punishment . . . .” Id. at 844.
Plaintiff has not shown that the defendants knew of a substantial risk of serious harm
to Plaintiff and disregarded that risk by failing to take reasonable measures to abate it.
Consequently, Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to state a plausible claim for relief
under the Eighth Amendment. The complaint [Doc. #1, filed Dec. 17, 2012] is summarily
DISMISSED as frivolous and for failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted.
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b). An appeal from this decision would be frivolous
and could not be taken in good faith. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3); Coppedge v. United States,
369 U.S. 438, 443-45 (1962); McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 610-11 (6th Cir.
s/Nancy G. Edmunds
Nancy G. Edmunds
United States District Judge
Dated: January 23, 2013
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record
on January 23, 2013, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
s/Carol A. Hemeyer
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