Taylor v. Chapman et al
OPINION and ORDER Partially Dismissing 1 Complaint - Signed by District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds. (LBar)
Case 2:20-cv-13041-NGE-CI ECF No. 5, PageID.51 Filed 11/18/20 Page 1 of 4
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Civil Action No. 2:20-CV-13041
HONORABLE NANCY G. EDMUNDS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
WILLIS CHAPMAN, et. al.,
OPINION AND ORDER PARTIALLY DISMISSING
THE CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT
Before the Court is Plaintiff Leon Taylor’s pro se civil rights complaint filed pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is a state prisoner incarcerated at the Macomb Correctional Facility in
New Haven, Michigan. The Court has reviewed the complaint and now DISMISSES IT IN
II. Standard of Review
Plaintiff was allowed to proceed without prepayment of fees. See 28 § U.S.C. 1915(a);
McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F. 3d 601, 604 (6th Cir. 1997).
However, 28 U.S.C. §
Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid,
the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that:
(B) the action or appeal:
(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.
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A complaint is frivolous if it lacks an arguable basis in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 325 (1989); see also Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992). Sua sponte dismissal
is appropriate if the complaint lacks an arguable basis when filed. McGore, 114 F. 3d at 612.
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). Stated differently, “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 prove a prima facie case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a civil rights plaintiff must establish
that: (1) the defendant acted under color of state law; and (2) the offending conduct deprived the
plaintiff of rights secured by federal law. Bloch v. Ribar, 156 F. 3d 673, 677 (6th Cir. 1998)(citing
Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981)). “If a plaintiff fails to make a showing on any
essential element of a § 1983 claim, it must fail.” Redding v. St. Eward, 241 F. 3d 530, 532 (6th
Plaintiff claims that he was quarantined at the Macomb Correctional Facility after being
exposed to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Plaintiff was later returned to the general population.
Plaintiff claims that the defendant corrections officers repeatedly refuse to provide him with bleach
or other cleaning supplies to disinfect his prison cell, which he claims puts him at risk of
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contracting COVID-19. Plaintiff also claims he is being forced to take showers in an infected
shower area that is not being cleaned or disinfected so as to eliminate or reduce the risk of
contracting COVID-19. Plaintiff also claims that he was served cold food for twenty days which
was inadequate to satisfy his nutritional requirements as a diabetic. Plaintiff names Warden Willis
Chapman, and Officers Jones, Wright, and 2 John Does as defendants.
A. The suit must be dismissed against Defendant Chapman
The complaint must be dismissed against Defendant Chapman, the warden at the Macomb
Correctional Facility, because plaintiff failed to allege any personal involvement on the part of the
defendant with the alleged unconstitutional deprivation.
A supervisory official like Chapman cannot be held liable under § 1983 for the misconduct
of officials that the person supervises unless the plaintiffs can demonstrate that “the supervisor
encouraged the specific instance of misconduct or in some other way directly participated in it.”
Combs v. Wilkinson, 315 F. 3d 548, 558 (6th Cir. 2002)(quoting Bellamy v. Bradley, 729 F. 2d
416, 421 (6th Cir. 1984)). A plaintiff must show, at a minimum, that the supervisory official “at
least implicitly authorized, approved, or knowingly acquiesced in the unconstitutional conduct of
the offending officers.” Id. “Supervisory liability under § 1983 cannot be based on a mere failure
to act but must be based upon active unconstitutional behavior.” Combs, 315 F. 3d at 558 (citing
to Bass v. Robinson, 167 F. 3d 1041, 1048 (6th Cir. 1999)).
Warden Chapman is not liable under § 1983 in his supervisory capacity for the alleged
violation of plaintiff’s rights, because plaintiff failed to alleged that the warden committed any of
these acts or acquiesced in the other parties’ conduct. See Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 575
(6th Cir. 2008).
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B. Plaintiff states a potential claim for relief against the remaining defendants.
Plaintiff’s allegations that the defendants failed to provide plaintiff with cleaning supplies
or other disinfectants to perform basic hygiene on his prison cell and that the defendants failed to
sanitize the prison showers sufficiently states a claim that the remaining defendants were
deliberately indifferent to taking safeguards to protect plaintiff from contracting COVID-19. See
Prieto Refunjol v. Adducci, 461 F. Supp. 3d 675, 708–09 (S.D. Ohio 2020), reconsideration
denied, No. 2:20-CV-2099, 2020 WL 3026236 (S.D. Ohio June 5, 2020).
Plaintiff’s other allegation that the defendants failed to provide him with the proper diet for
his diabetic condition sufficiently states a claim that the defendants were deliberately indifferent
to plaintiff’s medical needs. See Jones v. Texas Dep't of Criminal Justice, 880 F.3d 756, 759–60
(5th Cir. 2018).
IT IS ORDERED THAT:
The civil rights complaint is DISMISSED IN PART WITH PREJUDICE WITH RESPECT
TO DEFENDANT WILLIS CHAPMAN FOR FAILING TO STATE A CLAIM UPON
WHICH RELIEF CAN BE GRANTED.
The case will proceed against the remaining
s/ Nancy G. Edmunds
HON. NANCY G. EDMUNDS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated: November 18, 2020
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