Williams v. Schuette et al
ORDER of Partial Dismissal of Defendants Dobe, Flynn, Daniel H. Heyns, Clayton Ingram, Teresa A. Palette, Scott Kevin Paterson, Rodrick, Bill Schuette, Dawn Van Hoek, Heidi E. Washington, Mary K. Berghuis and Sherry Burt and DIRECTING Plaintiff to furnish 35 copies of his complaint no later than 4/21/2017. Signed by District Judge Robert H. Cleland. (LWag) Modified on 3/22/2017 (LWag).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
DONNELL DEFRANCE WILLIAMS,
Case No: 16-14237
BILL SCHUETTE, et al.,
ORDER OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL AND DIRECTING
PLAINTIFF TO FURNISH COPIES OF COMPLAINT
This is a pro se prisoner civil rights case. Michigan state prisoner Donnell
DeFrance Williams is a state prisoner incarcerated at the Muskegon Correctional
Facility in Muskegon, Michigan. He asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
names forty-seven Defendants. He alleges that the Defendants have retaliated against
him for filing grievances by denying him access to legal documents, destroying legal
documents, denying him a previously assigned prison job, denying him due process for
his grievances, filing false misconduct charges, placing him in segregation, and
threatening him with physical harm. He seeks monetary relief. The court will dismiss
Defendants Scheutte, Heyns, Washington, Palette, Paterson, Van Hoek, Berghuis,
Rodrick, Flynn, Dobe, and Burt, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), because Plaintiff
fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted against them.
Federal 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 Atl. 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 this notice pleading standard
does not require “detailed” factual allegations, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, it does require
more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions or “an unadorned, thedefendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.’” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “Nor
does a complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement.’” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Plaintiff has been granted leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee
for this action. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the court is required to
sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint before service on a defendant if it
determines that 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). Similarly, the court is
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(b).
To state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) she was
deprived of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the federal Constitution or laws of
the United States; and (2) the deprivation was caused by a person acting under color of
state law. Flagg Bros. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155-57 (1978). A pro se civil rights
complaint is to be construed liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
A. Defendants Scheutte, Heyns, Washington, Berghuis, and Burt
Plaintiff’s allegations against Defendants Scheutte, Heyns, Washington,
Berghuis, and Burt are based upon their supervisory authority. The doctrine of
respondeat superior does not apply in § 1983 lawsuits to impute liability onto
supervisory personnel, see Monell v. Department of Social Services of New York, 436
U.S. 658, 691-95, 98 S. Ct. 2018 (1978), unless it is shown “that the supervisor
encouraged the specific incident of misconduct or in some other way directly
participated in it.” Bellamy v. Bradley, 729 F.2d 416, 421 (6th Cir. 1984). A supervisor’s
failure to supervise, train or control an employee is not actionable under § 1983, unless
the plaintiff shows “the official at least implicitly authorized, approved, or knowingly
acquiesced in the unconstitutional conduct . . .” Hays v. Jefferson County, Ky., 668 F.2d
869, 874 (6th Cir. 1982); see also Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999)
(“[A] supervisory official’s failure to supervise, control or train the offending individual is
not actionable unless the supervisor either encouraged the specific incident of
misconduct or in some other way directly participated in it.”) (internal quotation marks
omitted). In this case, Plaintiff fails to allege any specific conduct by these Defendants
that would support a finding that they directly participated in, encouraged, or implicitly
authorized or approved the alleged unconstitutional conduct. They will be dismissed
from this action.
B. Defendants Palette, Paterson, and Van Hoek
The nature of Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants Palette, Paterson, and Van
Hoek is difficult to discern. These Defendants are attorneys who apparently represented
Petitioner in his state court criminal proceedings. Plaintiff seems to challenge the
adequacy of their representation during the criminal proceedings.
One of the essential elements of a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is that the
conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law.
Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981). To be a “state actor,” a party’s actions must
be “‘fairly attributable to the state.’” Ellison v. Garbarino, 48 F.3d 192, 195 (6th Cir.
1995), quoting Lugar v. Edmundson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 937 (1982). Attorneys
representing clients in criminal actions do not act under color of law for § 1983
purposes, even where such attorneys are appointed by the government to represent the
criminal defendant. Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312 (1981). Thus, these
Defendants were not acting under color of state law in representing Plaintiff in his
C. Defendants Ingram, Rodrick, Flynn, and Dobe
Defendant Ingram was Plaintiff’s parole officer at the time of the offenses for
which he is currently incarcerated and testified against him at his criminal trial. Plaintiff
argues that Ingram told Defendants Rodrick, Flynn and Dobe to harass Plaintiff during
his incarceration because Plaintiff shot a four-year-old girl. Plaintiff claims that, as a
result, Rodrick, Flynn, and Dobe subjected him to daily shakedowns of his cell.
In order to set forth a First Amendment retaliation claim, 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.
Thaddeus-X v. Blatter, 175 F.3d 378, 394 (6th Cir. 1999). Plaintiff’s shooting of a fouryear old girl is not protected conduct. Plaintiff fails to state a claim for retaliation against
Defendants Ingram, Rodrick, Flynn, and Dobe.
D. Service of Complaint
The Court determines that service of the complaint is appropriate on the
remaining Defendants. However, the Court may not, at this time, direct service of the
one-hundred-and-ten-page complaint upon the remaining Defendants because Plaintiff
has failed to furnish the Court a sufficient number of copies for service. See Fed R. Civ.
P. 4(c)(1) (“The plaintiff . . . shall furnish the person effecting service with the necessary
copies of the . . . complaint”). Therefore, the court will order that Plaintiff supply the
court with thirty-five copies of his complaint within thirty days from entry of this order.
Failure to submit the required copies may result in the dismissal of the complaint.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants Scheutte, Heyns,
Washington, Palette, Paterson, Van Hoek, Berghuis, Ingram, Rodrick, Flynn, Dobe, and
Burt, and they are DISMISSED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff supply the court with thirty-five paper
copies of his complaint by April 21, 2017.
S/Robert H. Cleland
ROBERT H. CLELAND
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: March 22, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was mailed to counsel of record
on this date, March 22, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
Case Manager and Deputy Clerk
S:\Cleland\JUDGE'S DESK\C2 ORDERS\16-14237.WILLIAMS.crpartialdismissal.mbc.bss.wpd
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?