Bonner v. Washington et al
OPINION and ORDER Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Counsel, Etc. 3 , Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Exhibits in the Traditional Manner 4 , Denying Plaintiff's Motion for a TRO 10 , and Summarily Dismissing the Complaint 1 . Signed by District Judge Denise Page Hood. (LSau)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
BRIAN JOHNNIE BONNER,
Case No. 2:17-cv-11863
Hon. Denise Page Hood
HEIDI E. WASHINGTON, KEN ROMANOWSKI,
FNU FISHER, FNU ROBINSON, KIM CARGOR,
SERGEANT BOYD, ADRIAN L. GREEN,
FNU TAYLOR, JANE/JOHN DOE PAROLE
BOARD MEMBER, MICHAEL J. SZAPPAN,
FNU RICHARDSON, FNU SCOTT, PATRICK CLARK,
CHAD DUFFING, ALEXIS KRAFT, TANZE TABB,
DAVEE LEIANN HUNTER, FNU HANCOCK,
JOHN DOE OFFICER, and JOHN DOE WARDEN,
OPINION AND ORDER
DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR COUNSEL, ETC. ,
DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE
EXHIBITS IN THE TRADITIONAL MANNER ,
DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR A TRO ,
AND SUMMARILY DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT 
This matter has come before the Court on plaintiff Brian Johnnie Bonner’s
pro se motions and civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Document
Nos. 1, 3-4, and 10, filed on June 7 and July 6, 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. The complaint makes the following claims: (1) Plaintiff was denied a
certificate of discharge from parole in violation of state law; (2) Plaintiff was
denied protective custody after notifying staff that his life was in danger; (3)
Plaintiff was stabbed, denied medical treatment, and written a false misconduct
report for incite to riot; (4) Plaintiff was subjected to endless retaliation for filing
the civil complaint in case number 2:14-cv-10196; and (5) Plaintiff’s parole
violation hearing was “judge-shopped” after he was found not guilty and then
recharged. (Document No. 1, page 8.)
In an emergency motion filed with the complaint, Plaintiff seeks: (1) to add
new claims to old claims that were filed in case number 2:14-cv-10196; (2) to have
counsel appointed for him; and (3) to seal the motion and to add two new unnamed
defendants to this action. (Document No. 3, filed on June 7, 2017). In another
motion filed with the complaint, Plaintiff states that he would like to have certain
exhibits filed in the traditional manner instead of electronically. (Document No. 4,
filed on June 7, 2017). More recently Plaintiff filed an emergency motion for a
temporary restraining order on the basis that his life is in danger. (Document No.
10, filed on July 6, 2017.)
Plaintiff was confined at the Carson City Correctional Facility in Carson City, Michigan when
he filed his complaint.
II. Legal Framework
The Court has granted Plaintiff permission to proceed without prepaying 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 if it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim for which
relief can be granted, or seeks 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).
A. The Complaint
Plaintiff’s complaint and other filings fail to set forth a cohesive statement of
facts. There is no chronological statement of the events in question, and the
rambling, repetitive allegations about seemingly unrelated events, without
references to dates, locations, or other details, make it difficult to understand what
happened to cause the alleged constitutional violations. And even though Plaintiff
contends that the defendants have threatened him, falsely charged him with prison
misconduct, and mishandled his parole proceedings, he has failed to explain what
each defendant did to violate his rights.
Plaintiff does say that parole agent Patrick Clark bribed and extorted money
from him, testified falsely against him, and arranged to have him arrested on false
charges of violating the conditions of parole, (Document No. 1, page 9.) But even
those allegations are conclusory, as Plaintiff has failed to provide the Court with
specific details about Clark’s activities. The Court, therefore, is unable to draw the
reasonable inference that Clark is liable for the misconduct alleged.
The allegations about defendants Heidi Washington, Ken Romanowski,
resident unit manager Fisher, and correctional officer Robinson also are vague.
Plaintiff alleges that Washington, Romanowski, Fisher, and Robinson conspired to
retaliate against him for filing a prior complaint against Washington and others.
But to prevail on a retaliation claim, a plaintiff must prove three things:
(1) the plaintiff engaged in protected conduct; (2) an adverse action
was taken against the plaintiff that would deter a person of ordinary
firmness from continuing to engage in that conduct; and (3) there is a
causal connection between elements one and two—that is, the adverse
action was motivated at least in part by the plaintiff’s protected
Thaddeus-X v. Blatter, 175 F.3d 378, 394 (6th Cir. 1999).
Although Plaintiff engaged in protected conduct when he filed the prior
lawsuit, he has failed to show that his prior lawsuit was the “substantial or
motivating factor” in the defendants’ alleged retaliatory conduct.
Campbell, 250 F.3d at 1037 (citing Mount Healthy City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ. v.
Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 287 (1977)). Romanowski, Fisher, and Robinson were not
parties to that lawsuit, and Ms. Washington was dismissed from the lawsuit.
Plaintiff’s “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)). Plaintiff, therefore, has failed to state a plausible
claim of retaliation by Washington, Romanowski, Fisher, and Robinson.
B. The Motion and Requests for a Temporary Restraining Order
In his emergency motion for a temporary restraining order, Plaintiff states
that his life is in danger and that he has been threatened with new misconduct
charges, a delay in releasing him on parole, and even death. (Document No. 10,
pages 1-2.) Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65,
[t]he court may issue a temporary restraining order without written or oral
notice to the adverse party or its attorney only if:
(A) specific facts in an affidavit or a verified complaint
clearly show that immediate and irreparable injury, loss,
or damage will result to the movant before the adverse
(B) the movant’s attorney certifies in writing any efforts
made to give notice and the reasons why it should not be
Fed. R. Civ. P. 65
Plaintiff has failed to make a credible showing that he is in danger of
immediate and irreparable injury. Although he alleges in his complaint that he
fears for his life and was denied protective custody, see Document No. 1, pages 8
and 47, he was transferred to another prison after he filed his complaint. See
Document 7, filed June 28, 2017. And in his emergency motion for a temporary
restraining order, Plaintiff appears to be more concerned with certain financial
matters and the destruction of documents than he is with his personal safety.
As for the alleged threats to delay Plaintiff’s release on parole, this
contention is undermined by an exhibit which reveals that Plaintiff is projected to
be released on parole on August 10, 2017. See Document No. 12, page 4, filed on
July 11, 2017. Plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order must be denied
because Plaintiff has failed to clearly show that he is in danger of immediate and
irreparable injury, loss, or damage.
For the reasons given above, Plaintiff’s allegations fail to state a plausible
claim for relief under § 1983. The Court, therefore, summarily dismisses the
complaint (Document No. 1) pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A.
The Court also denies Plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order
(Document No. 10.) The Court denies as moot Plaintiff’s motion for counsel, to
seal the document, and to add two defendants (Document No. 3) and Plaintiff’s
motion for leave to file exhibits in the traditional manner (Document No. 4). It is
further ordered that 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, 445 (1962).
S/Denise Page Hood
Denise Page Hood
Chief Judge, United States District Court
Dated: July 31, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of
record on July 31, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
S/LaShawn R. Saulsberry
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