Bezinet v. The Michigan Department of Corrections
ORDER SUMMARILY DISMISSING CASE Signed by District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. (CPin)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case Number: 2:17-cv-11718
HON. VICTORIA A. ROBERTS
THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF
ORDER OF SUMMARY DISMISSAL
Plaintiff Ryan Bezinet, a state inmate currently incarcerated at the Bellamy Creek
Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan, has filed a pro se complaint under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. He names a single defendant, the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC).
He argues that he was tricked into pleading guilty to a Class I misconduct charge during a
prison disciplinary proceeding, resulting in the loss of visitation privileges. Plaintiff
seeks injunctive and monetary relief. The complaint will be dismissed under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
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). A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable
basis in law or in fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989).
To state a federal civil rights claim, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) he 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).
Plaintiff may not maintain a § 1983 action against the MDOC. The states and their
departments are immune under the Eleventh Amendment from suit in the federal courts,
unless the state has waived immunity or Congress has expressly abrogated Eleventh
Amendment immunity by statute. See Pennhurst State Sch. & Hosp. v. Halderman, 465
U.S. 89, 98-101 (1984); Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978). Eleventh
Amendment immunity “bars all suits, whether for injunctive, declaratory or monetary
relief, against the state and its departments by citizens of another state, foreigners or its
own citizens.” Thiokol Corp. v. Dep’t of Treasury, State of Mich., Revenue Div., 987
F.2d 376, 381 (6th Cir. 1993). Michigan has not consented to civil rights suits in federal
court. See Johnson v. Dellatifia, 357 F.3d 539, 545 (6th Cir. 2004). The Michigan
Department of Corrections is an arm of the State of Michigan and, therefore, both are
immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment. See Harrison v. Michigan, 722 F.3d
768, 771 (6th Cir. 2013). In addition, the State of Michigan (acting through the Michigan
Department of Corrections) is not a “person” who may be sued under § 1983 for money
damages. See Lapides v. Bd. of Regents, 535 U.S. 613 (2002), citing Will v. Mich. Dep’t
of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989).
The Eleventh Amendment precludes Plaintiff’s claims against the MDOC. The
complaint is therefore DISMISSED.
The Court further finds that if Plaintiff elects to appeal this decision, he may not
proceed without prepayment of the fees and costs on appeal because an appeal 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, 445 (1962).
S/Victoria A. Roberts
VICTORIA A. ROBERTS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: February 13, 2018
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