Gebrenegusse v. Heyns et al
OPINION and ORDER (1) Overruling Plaintiff's 56 Objections; (2) Adopting Magistrate Judge's 53 Report and Recommendation; and (3) Granting CPI Defendants' 13 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by District Judge Robert H. Cleland. (JOwe)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 16-12804
DANIEL HEYNS, et al.,
OPINION AND ORDER (1) OVERRULING PLAINTIFF’S OBJECTIONS;
(2) ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION; AND
(3) GRANTING CPI DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS
Plaintiff Mikias Gebreneguesse brings this pro se civil rights action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants violated his civil rights by forcing him to
undergo a residential substance abuse treatment program (“RSAT”) at the Detroit
Reentry Center (“DRC”), as a condition of his parole. (Dkt. # 4.) Defendants Community
Programs, Inc., Christin McClain/Lett, and Robert McCombs (“CPI Defendants”) filed a
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Dkt. # 13.)
Now before the court is the report and recommendation of United States
Magistrate Judge Anthony P. Patti, (Dkt. # 53.) to whom all pre-trial matters were
referred by this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). (Dkt. # 15.) The magistrate
judge recommends granting the motion to dismiss, finding that Plaintiff has failed to
sufficiently allege that CPI Defendants acted under color of state law, and failed to
allege facts to show that how each CPI Defendant took part in the decisions upon which
Plaintiff bases his constitutional claims. (Dkt. # 53, Pg. ID 493, 497-503.) Plaintiff filed
timely objections to the report and recommendation (Dkt. # 56), and the CPI Defendants
have filed a response (Dkt. # 61).
The filing of timely objections requires the court to “make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified findings or recommendations
to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). See United States v. Raddatz, 447
U.S. 667, 673 (1980); United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947, 949 (6th Cir. 1981). This
de novo review requires this court to examine the relevant pleadings and such evidence
as may have been submitted in support of the motions. A failure to file objections, or a
failure to file specific objections, constitutes a waiver of any further right to appeal.
Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 145-46 (1985); United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947,
949-50 (6th Cir. 1981); Howard v. Sec’y of HHS, 932 F.2d 505, 506 (6th Cir. 1991).
In order for this court to apply meaningful de novo review, it is insufficient for the
objecting party to simply incorporate by reference earlier pleadings or reproduce an
earlier unsuccessful motion for dismissal or judgment (or response to the other party’s
dispositive motion). The court treats insufficient objections to a magistrate judge’s
analysis as an unavailing general objection. See Spencer v. Bouchard, 449 F.3d 721,
725 (6th Cir. 2006) (“Overly general objections do not satisfy the objection
“To state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege a
violation of a right secured by the federal Constitution or laws and must show that he
violation was committed by a person acting under color of state law.” Wershe v. Combs,
763 F.3d 500, 504-05 (6th Cir. 2014). The Sixth Circuit has provided three “tests” to
determine whether private parties, such as CPI Defendants, acted “under color of state
law” for the purposes of liability under § 1983: (1) the public function test, (2) the state
compulsion test, and (3) the nexus test. Tahfs v. Proctor, 316 F.3d 584, 590 (6th Cir.
2003). Plaintiff contends that the magistrate judge erred in finding that the pleadings
were insufficient to meet the public function test and state a plausible claim against CPI
Plaintiff firsts objects that the magistrate judge erred by failing to consider West
v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 43-44 (1988), and Carl v. Muskegon Cnty., 763 F.3d 592, 594-95
(6th Cir. 2014) when finding that Plaintiff had not met the public function test. (Dkt. # 56,
Pg. ID 532-33.) Both cases concern Eighth Amendment claims regarding the failure to
provide adequate medical care to incarcerated individuals by private doctors working
within the jail or prison. Atkins, 487 U.S. at 56; Carl, 763 F.3d 594-95. In such cases,
the private parties perform the state’s constitutionally-mandated function of “provid[ing]
adequate medical care to those whom it has incarcerated.” Atkins, 487 U.S. at 56 (citing
Estell v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)).
Plaintiff does not allege that CPI Defendants perform the state’s constitutionallymandated function of providing adequate medical care to the incarcerated, or that he
was denied adequate medical care by CPI Defendants while at the DRC. The only
connection between CPI Defendants and the defendants West and Carl that appears in
the amended complaint is Plaintiff’s allegation that CPI Defendants provide mental
health services. As the magistrate judge correctly notes, courts of this district have
repeatedly declined to hold the addiction counseling services provided by CPI
Defendants to be an exclusive state function for the purposes of the public function test.
See Roberts v. Paige, No. 10-13743, 2013 WL 5435201, at *2, 6-7 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 27,
2013); Blair v. Michigan Dep’t of Corr., No. 12-13661, 2012 WL 5511763, at *2 (E.D.
Mich. Nov. 14, 2012); Bagwell v. Community Programs, Inc., No. 11-10796, 2011 WL
1447543, at *1 (E.D. Mich. April 12, 2011). This court concurs, for the reasons identified
by the magistrate judge. (See id. at 498.) Thus, Plaintiff’s first objection fails.
Plaintiff’s objections provide no other basis on which to find that CPI Defendants
acted under color of state law, a necessary component of any claim under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. See Wershe, 763 F.3d at 504-05. As a result, the court need not, and will not,
address Plaintiff’s remaining objections. The court has read the report and
recommendation, and agrees that the pleadings, construed in the light most favorable to
Plaintiff, do not allege that CPI Defendants acted under color of state law and, therefore,
do not state a plausible § 1983 claim against CPI Defendants. Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s objections (Dkt. # 56) are OVERRULED. The
portion of the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation discussing whether CPI
Defendants acted under color of state law (Dkt. # 53, Pg. ID 497-501) is ADOPTED and
incorporated by reference.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that CPI Defendants’ motion to dismiss (Dkt. # 13) is
s/Robert H. Cleland
ROBERT H. CLELAND
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: August 9, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of record on this
date, August 9, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
Acting in the absence of Lisa Wagner
Case Manager and Deputy Clerk
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