Leaphart v. Snyder, et al.
ORDER GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN FORMA PAUPERIS AND DISMISSING CASE Signed by District Judge Victoria A. Roberts. (CPin)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 17-12241
Honorable Victoria A. Roberts
RICK SNYDER, et al.,
ORDER GRANTING APPLICATION TO PROCEED IN
FORMA PAUPERIS AND DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT
On July 10, 2017, Plaintiff Kirk Leaphart filed a pro se civil rights complaint
against Rick Snyder and the City of Detroit, alleging a violation of his procedural due
process rights. Plaintiff also filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis.
Plaintiff’s application to proceed in forma pauperis is GRANTED. However, his
complaint is DISMISSED for failure to state a claim on which relief may be granted
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
When a plaintiff proceeds in forma pauperis, the Court has an obligation to
screen the complaint and dismiss the case if it: “(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that a complaint set forth “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” 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)
(citation omitted). Although this standard “does not require ‘detailed factual allegations,’
. . . it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation. A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.’ Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]’ devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (internal citations omitted).
The Court construes a pro se plaintiff’s complaint liberally. Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). However, that “leniency . . . is not boundless,” and “basic
pleading standards” still must be satisfied. Martin v. Overton, 391 F.3d 710, 714 (6th
The complaint is five sentences in length. Plaintiff alleges that on June 25, 2017
Detroit Police Officers arrested him without Miranda warnings and took him to the
Mound Road Detention Center, where the Michigan Department of Corrections
(“MDOC”) held him until June 27. Based on that, Plaintiff claims that: (1) he was
“subjected to the deprivation of liberty without procedural due process by an
intergovernmental agreement between the City of Detroit and [MDOC] to lockup
arrestees who may be held for 72 hours”; and (2) he “was willfully inflicted with severe
mental and emotional distress during the 72 hours of incarceration, knowing
intergovernmental agreement was the moving force behind the violation(s).”
Construing the complaint liberally, Plaintiff fails to satisfy the basic pleading
requirements set forth in Twombly and Iqbal. Rather than providing defendants fair
notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests, the complaint consists merely of
“naked assertions” and “unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation[s].” Plaintiff does not elaborate any basis for his claim that he was deprived
of his liberty without due process. His conclusory allegations fail to specify what specific
conduct violated his rights, and how and/or why that conduct violated his rights.
Moreover, among other things, Plaintiff fails to allege that the officers lacked probable
cause to arrest him. The complaint does not meet basic pleading standards.
In addition to not satisfying the basic pleading standards, Plaintiff’s complaint
fails to set forth a plausible claim against either defendant.
The complaint fails against Snyder because Plaintiff does not allege that Snyder
had any personal involvement with the violation of his due process rights. See Frazier
v. Michigan, 41 Fed. Appx. 762, 764 (6th Cir. 2002) (holding that “a complaint must
allege that the defendants were personally involved in the alleged deprivation of federal
As to the City of Detroit, Plaintiff’s complaint fails because he does not plead
sufficient facts to state a plausible municipal liability claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
“A municipality may be held liable only when execution of a government’s policy
or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may fairly
be said to represent official policy, inflicts the injury. Furthermore, for municipal liability,
there must be an affirmative link between the policy and the particular constitutional
violation alleged.” Bennett v. City of Eastpointe, 410 F.3d 810, 818-19 (6th Cir. 2005)
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
Plaintiff attaches an MDOC-issued announcement from 2013 stating that the
Mound Correctional Facility will serve as the City of Detroit’s lockup for arrestees.
However, Plaintiff fails to allege how this announcement is an official policy of the City of
Detroit. Moreover, even assuming the announcement is an official policy, Plaintiff does
not allege an “affirmative link” between the purported policy and his alleged due process
violation that makes it plausible that the policy was the “moving force” behind the
alleged violation. See Polk Cty. v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 326 (1981) (holding that the
“official policy must be ‘the moving force of the constitutional violation’ in order to
establish [municipal] liability . . . under § 1983” (citation omitted)).
Plaintiff’s complaint fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. The
Court, therefore, DISMISSES this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
Moreover, the Court CERTIFIES that any appeal of this order would be frivolous
and would not be taken in good faith. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3).
IT IS ORDERED.
S/Victoria A. Roberts
Victoria A. Roberts
United States District Judge
Dated: July 21, 2017
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