Bonner v. WASHINGTON et al
OPINION AND ORDER dismissing defendants and adding J. Niemiec and Sergeant Burns as defendants, denying 4 , 6 Motions for appointment of counsel and other relief, granting in part and denying in part 5 Motion to add parties, and directing service on remaining defendants. Signed by District Judge Denise Page Hood. (DPer) Modified on 8/1/2017 (DPer).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 2:17-cv-11694
Hon. Denise Page Hood
HEIDI E. WASHINGTON, FNU SHIELDS,
FNU LAM, FNU WEBB, FNU COOLBAUGH,
FNU DUNLAP, FNU STOLARK, FNU JONES,
FNU THOMPSON, FNU ROMANOWSKI,
MICHAEL S. SZAPPAN, FNU TAYLOR,
FNU RICHARDSON, FNU SCOTT,
ADRIAN GREENE, PATRICK CLARK,
DAWN FRESHCORN, NOAH NAGY,
CYNTHIA VANLAKE, MICHELLE RISLEY,
DAPHNE JOHNSON, DAVEE HUNTER,
FNU OWEN, KIM CARGOR, and FNU BRUSSOW,
OPINION AND ORDER
(1) DISMISSING DEFENDANTS WASHINGTON, ROMANOWSKI,
SZAPPAN, TAYLOR, RICHARDSON, SCOTT, GREENE, CLARK,
FRESHCORN, NAGY, VANLAKE, RISLEY, JOHNSON,
HUNTER, OWEN, CARGOR, AND BRUSSOW,
(2) ADDING J. NIEMIEC AND SERGEANT BURNS AS DEFENDANTS,
(3) DIRECTING SERVICE OF THE COMPLAINT ON DEFENDANTS
SHIELDS, LAM, WEBB, COOLBAUGH, DUNLAP, STOLARK,
JONES, THOMPSON, NIEMIEC, AND BURNS,
(4) DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTIONS FOR APPOINTMENT
OF COUNSEL AND OTHER RELIEF [4, 6], AND
(5) GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO ADD PARTIES 
This matter has come before the Court on plaintiff Brian Bonner’s pro se
civil rights complaint, presumably filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Document No.
1, filed on May 23, 2017.) Plaintiff is a state prisoner currently housed at the St.
Louis Correctional Facility in St. Louis, Michigan.1 The defendants are state
correctional officials, state parole officials, and a private citizen.
Defendant Heidi E. Washington is the Director of the Michigan Department
of Corrections. Plaintiff alleges that Ms. Washington conspired with a warden to
subject him to retaliation.
Defendants Shields, Lam, Webb, Coolbaugh, Dunlap, Stolark, Jones, and
Thompson are or were correctional officers at the Reception and Guidance Center
in Jackson, Michigan.
Plaintiff contends that, while he was confined at the
Reception and Guidance Center, Shields, Lam, Webb, Coolbaugh, Dunlap, Stolark,
Jones, and Thompson threatened to plant weapons on him and to have him killed.
Plaintiff makes no allegations about the remaining defendants, except to say
that the nature of his suit is
malicious prosecution, negligence, false statements, physical assaults,
destroyed legal work papers for filings in civil suits, threats to kill,
ongoing retaliation, wrongful arrest, wrongful incarceration, false
Plaintiff was confined at the Michigan Department of Corrections Reception and
Guidance Center in Jackson, Michigan when he filed his complaint. See Document No.
1. It appears that shortly afterward, he was transferred to the Carson City Correctional
Facility in Carson City, Michigan. See Document No. 4.
testimony by state employees under oath, conspiring retaliation in
emails, tickets & administrative hearings, malfeasance, [and]
[department] corruption [in violation] of civil and U.S. [constitutional]
Compl., Document No. 1, page 2.
Also pending before the Court are three motions, which Plaintiff recently
filed. In his first motion (Document No. 4, filed on June 8, 2017), Plaintiff asks to
have the Court appoint attorney Arlene Woods as his attorney. The motion also
asks for protection and for an investigation into official corruption.
In a second motion (Document No. 5, filed on June 8, 2017), Plaintiff seeks
to add his fiancee, Tiffany Tyler, as a plaintiff and to add J. Niemiec and Sergeant
Burns as defendants.
Niemiec and Burns are employed by the Michigan
Department of Corrections at the Carson City Correctional Facility in Carson City,
Michigan. Plaintiff alleges that Niemiec tampered with his mail, refused to process
his visiting list, denied him protective custody, and retaliated against him for
various reasons. Plaintiff asserts that Sergeant Burns wrote retaliatory misconduct
reports about Plaintiff.
In a third motion (Document No. 6. filed on June 13, 2017), Plaintiff seeks
appointment of counsel and to have attorney Arlene Woods provide evidence of
ongoing retaliation and corruption.
II. Legal Framework
The Court has granted Plaintiff permission to proceed without prepayment
of the fees and costs for this action. Pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act
of 1996, federal district courts must screen an indigent prisoner’s complaint and
dismiss the complaint, or any portion of it, if the allegations are frivolous,
malicious, fail to state a claim for which relief can be granted, or seek monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A; Flanory v. Bonn, 604 F.3d 249, 252 (6th Cir. 2010);
Smith v. Campbell, 250 F.3d 1032, 1036 (6th Cir. 2001). A complaint is frivolous
if it lacks an arguable basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319,
325 (1989). “A complaint is subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim if the
allegations, taken as true, show the plaintiff is not entitled to relief.” Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007).
While a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations,” the “[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on
the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in
fact).” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (footnote and
citations omitted). In other words, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, ‘to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’ ”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
To prevail on a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must prove two elements:
“(1) that he or she was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of
the United States; and (2) that the deprivation was caused by a person acting under
color of law.” Robertson v. Lucas, 753 F.3d 606, 614 (6th Cir. 2014). “]D]amage
claims against governmental officials alleged to arise from violations of
constitutional rights cannot be founded upon conclusory, vague or general
allegations, but must instead, allege facts that show the existence of the asserted
constitutional rights violation recited in the complaint and what each defendant did
to violate the asserted right.” Terrance v. Northville Reg’l Psychiatric Hosp., 286
F.3d 834, 842 (6th Cir. 2002).
The Court begins its analysis with Plaintiff’s allegation that defendant Heidi
E. Washington conspired with a correctional official to retaliate against him.
Plaintiff has not alleged any facts to support this allegation, and “conclusory
allegations of retaliatory motive ‘unsupported by material facts [are] not . . .
sufficient to state . . . a claim under § 1983.’ ” Harbin Bey v. Rutter, 420 F.3d
571, 580 (6th Cir. 2005) (quoting Gutierrez v. Lynch, 826 F.2d 1534, 1538–39 (6th
Cir. 1987)). The Court, therefore, dismisses Ms. Washington from this lawsuit.
Plaintiff has stated arguable claims against correctional officers Shields,
Lam, Webb, Coolbaugh, Dunlap, Stolark, Jones, and Thompson, who allegedly
threatened to have Plaintiff killed and caused Plaintiff to fear for his life. Compl.
at 1. Plaintiff also has stated arguable claims against J. Niemiec and Sergeant
Burns. Plaintiff asserts that Niemiec and Burns tampered with his mail, failed to
protect him, or retaliated against him by filing false misconduct reports.
Document Nos. 5 and 6. The Court, therefore, grants Plaintiff’s request to add
Niemiec and Burns as defendants and will allow this case to go forward against
them and against correctional officers Shields, Lam, Webb, Coolbaugh, Dunlap,
Stolark, Jones, and Thompson.
The other defendants listed in the complaint are Romanowski, Szappan,
Taylor, Richardson, Scott, Greene, Clark, Freshcorn, Nagy, VanLake, Risley,
Johnson, Hunter, Owen, Cargor, and Brussow. The complaint does not allege what
these defendants did to violate Plaintiff’s rights, and even though Plaintiff
mentions some of these defendants in a subsequent document, see Document No.
12, filed on June 22, 2017, his allegations about these defendants pertain to
Plaintiff’s violations of the conditions of parole. Because these allegations are
unrelated to Plaintiff’s claims about the other defendants, the Court summarily
dismisses defendants Romanowski, Szappan, Taylor, Richardson, Scott, Greene,
Clark, Freshcorn, Nagy, VanLake, Risley, Johnson, Hunter, Owen, Cargor, and
Brussow from this lawsuit pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21 (“On
motion or on its own, the court may at any time, on just terms, add or drop a
party.”). As explained in George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007),
multiple claims against a single party are fine, but Claim A against
Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against
Defendant 2. Unrelated claims against different defendants belong in
different suits . . . .
Id. at 607.
For the reasons given above, the Court summarily dismisses the following
defendants pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A and Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 21: Heidi E. Washington, Mr. Romanowski, Michael S. Szappan,
Adrian Greene, Patrick Clark, Dawn Freshcorn, Noah Nagy, Cynthia VanLake,
Michelle Risley, Daphne Johnson, Davee Hunter, Kim Cargor, and correctional
officers Taylor, Richardson, Scott, Owen, and Brussow.
The Court orders the United States Marshal to serve the complaint and on
correctional officers Shields, Lam, Webb, Coolbaugh, Dunlap, Stolark, Jones, and
Thompson at the Michigan Department of Corrections Reception and Guidance
Center in Jackson, Michigan. The Marshal shall serve the complaint on defendants
J. Niemiec and Sergeant Burns at the Carson City Correctional Facility in Carson
The Court directs the Clerk of the Court to add J. Niemiec and Sergeant
Burns as defendants on the Court’s official docket.
The Court denies Plaintiff’s motion for appointment of counsel, for a federal
investigation, and to seal the motion. (Document No. 4.) The motion is denied
without prejudice as to Plaintiff’s request for appointment of Arlene Woods as
counsel. The motion is denied with prejudice as to Plaintiff’s requests for a federal
investigation and to seal the motion.
The Court grants in part and denies in part Plaintiff’s motion to add parties.
(Document No. 5.) The motion is granted as to Plaintiff’s request to add J.
Niemiec and Sergeant Burns as defendants. The motion is denied as to Plaintiff’s
request to add Tiffany Tyler as a plaintiff.
The Court denies without prejudice Plaintiff’s motion for appointment of
counsel and to have Arlene Woods produce evidence. (Document No. 6.)
IT IS SO ORDERED.
S/Denise Page Hood
Denise Page Hood
Chief Judge, United States District Court
Dated: August 1, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of
record on August 1, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
S/LaShawn R. Saulsberry
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