Montgomery v. Worthy et al
ORDER DISMISSING CASE, Signed by District Judge John Corbett O'Meara. (WBar)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
CASE NO. 13-14373
HON. JOHN CORBETT O’MEARA
WAYNE COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE:
KYM WORTHY, JANE/JOHN DOE(S);
WAYNE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE:
BENNY NAPOLEON, JANE/JOHN DOE(S);
WAYNE COUNTY HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS;
MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDERS: JANE/JOHN DOE(S);
DETROIT POLICE DEPARTMENT: JANE/JOHN DOE(S),
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Plaintiff Michael Montgomery is a detainee at the Wayne County Jail in Detroit,
Michigan. He recently filed a hybrid complaint seeking a writ of habeas corpus and
relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendants are: the Wayne County Prosecutor’s
Office; Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy; the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office;
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon; Wayne County Health Care Providers; Mental
Health Providers; the Detroit Police Department; and certain unnamed individuals
identified as Jane or John Doe(s).
Plaintiff alleges through a legal writer at the jail that he is bipolar, has a learning
disability, and suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. He asserts that he is abused every
day and does not receive the medicine that he received as a free citizen.
Plaintiff further alleges that the prosecutor in his state criminal case is offering
him to an illegal plea agreement with a sentence of twenty to forty years in prison. He
claims that he is being victimized by the prosecution and by the actual perpetrators of
the crime and does not know or understand what is happening to him. He seeks
injunctive relief in the form of an order enjoining the defendants from prosecuting him on
the pending warrant or information and a judgment declaring that the prosecution and
housing of him violates his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution.
A. The Habeas Claim
Plaintiff is attacking both the conditions of his confinement and the fact or length
of confinement. “[H]is latter claim . . . is cognizable only in federal habeas corpus, with
its attendant requirement of exhaustion of state remedies.” Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411
U.S. 475, 499 n.14 (1973). Pretrial detainees may pursue habeas relief under 28
U.S.C. § 2241, Phillips v. Court of Common Pleas, Hamilton County, Ohio, 668 F.3d
804, 809 (6th Cir. 2012), but
courts should abstain from the exercise of that jurisdiction if the issues
raised in the petition may be resolved either by trial on the merits in the
state courts or by other state procedures available to the petitioner.
Abstention from the exercise of the habeas corpus jurisdiction is justified
by the doctrine of comity, a recognition of the concurrent jurisdiction
created by our federal system of government in the separate state and
national sovereignties. Intrusion into state proceedings already underway
is warranted only in extraordinary circumstances. Thus the doctrine of
exhaustion of state remedies has developed to protect the state courts’
opportunity to confront initially and resolve constitutional issues arising
within their jurisdictions and to limit federal judicial interference in state
Atkins v. Michigan, 644 F.2d 543, 546 (6th Cir. 1981) (internal citations omitted).
The exhaustion doctrine requires state prisoners to invoke “one complete round
of the State’s established appellate review process” before presenting their claims to a
federal court in a habeas corpus petition. O’Sullivan v. Boerckel, 526 U.S. 838, 845
(1999). “[T]his usually requires that [habeas petitioners] appeal an adverse decision all
the way to the state’s court of last resort.” Phillips, 668 F.3d at 810.
Plaintiff has not alleged that he exhausted state remedies for his habeas claim,
and he has not shown that exceptional circumstances warrant intrusion into state
proceedings already underway. Accordingly, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office,
Prosecutor Kym Worthy, the Detroit Police Department, and the unidentified John and
Jane Doe(s) employed by the prosecutor’s office and the police department are
dismissed without prejudice. The request to enjoin these defendants from prosecuting
Plaintiff is denied.
B. The Civil Rights Claim
Plaintiff appears to be suing Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, the Wayne
County Sheriff’s Department, and unnamed medical professionals at the Wayne County
Jail for unfavorable conditions at the jail. “To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a
plaintiff must set forth facts that, when construed favorably, establish (1) the deprivation
of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States (2) caused by a
person acting under the color of state law. Sigley v. Parma Heights, 437 F.3d 527, 533
(6th Cir. 2006). When screening a prisoner’s complaint, a federal district court
must examine both § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A. If the civil action seeks
redress from a governmental entity, officer, or employee, the district court
must dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, which (a) is
frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or (b) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from monetary relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A.
Smith v. Campbell, 250 F.3d 1032, 1036 (6th Cir. 2001).
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). “So, to survive scrutiny under §§ 1915A(b)(1) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), ‘a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.’” Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d. 468, 471 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Plaintiff’s civil rights claim fails for a number of reasons. First of all, the Wayne
County Sheriff’s Office is not a legal entity capable of being sued under § 1983.
Hughson v. County of Antrim, 707 F. Supp. 304, 306 (W.D. Mich. 1988). Second, to the
extent Plaintiff is suing Sheriff Benny Napoleon under a respondeat superior theory of
liability, his claim fails because there is no respondeat superior or vicarious liability
under § 1983. Flagg v. Detroit, 715 F.3d 165, 174 (6th Cir. 2013).
As for the county health care providers, mental health providers, and unnamed
county defendants, Plaintiff has failed to show how “each Government-official
defendant, through the official’s own individual actions” violated the Constitution. Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 676; see also Terrance v. Northville Reg’l. Psychiatric Hosp., 286 F.3d 834,
842 (6th Cir. 2002) (explaining that claims against governmental officials for alleged
violations of constitutional rights must allege what each defendant did to violate the
asserted rights); Ridgeway v. Kentucky, 510 F. App’x 412, 413 (6th Cir. 2013) (stating
that, “for the plaintiff to proceed, he should provide detail as to how each defendant
allegedly violated his constitutional rights”). Pretrial detainees have a right to adequate
medical treatment, Bruederle v. Louisville Metro Government, 687 F.3d 771, 776 (6th
Cir. 2012), cert. denied, __ U.S. __, 133 S. Ct. 866 (2013), but Plaintiff has not
demonstrated how each of the county defendants was personally involved in the
deprivation of his constitutional rights. Thus, he has no right to relief from the health
care providers, mental health providers, and the unnamed John and Jane Doe(s) at the
Wayne County Jail.
Plaintiff’s civil rights claim lacks an arguable basis in law and fails to state a
plausible claim for relief. Consequently, the civil rights claim against the Wayne County
Sheriff’s Office, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Wayne County Health Care
Providers, Mental Health Providers, and the other unnamed county employees are
summarily DISMISSED with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and
1915A(b)(1). An appeal from this decision on Plaintiff’s civil rights claim 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, 443-45 (1962); McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601,
610-11 (6th Cir. 1997), overruled on other grounds by LaFountain v. Harry, 716 F.3d
944, 951 (6th Cir. 2013).
The habeas claim against the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, Prosecutor
Kym Worthy, the Detroit Police Department, and the unnamed employees of the police
department and the prosecutor’s office is dismissed without prejudice. The Court
declines to issue a certificate of appealability on the habeas claim because reasonable
jurists would not find it debatable whether the Court’s procedural ruling on the habeas
claim was correct or whether the allegations state a valid claim of the denial of a
constitutional right. Slack v. McDaniel, 529 U.S. 473, 484 (2000).
s/John Corbett O’Meara
United States District Judge
Date: December 17, 2013
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon the
parties of record on this date, December 17, 2013, using the ECF system and/or
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