Clifford #880417 v. Michigan Department of Corrections et al
OPINION; signed by District Judge Paul L. Maloney (Judge Paul L. Maloney, cmc)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 1:17-cv-556
Honorable Paul L. Maloney
MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF
CORRECTIONS et al.,
This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
The Court has granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Under the Prison Litigation
Reform Act, PUB. L. NO. 104-134, 110 STAT. 1321 (1996), the Court is required to dismiss any
prisoner action brought under federal law if the complaint is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant immune from such
relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2), 1915A; 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). The Court must read Plaintiff’s pro
se complaint indulgently, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), and accept Plaintiff’s
allegations as true, unless they are clearly irrational or wholly incredible. Denton v. Hernandez, 504
U.S. 25, 33 (1992). Applying these standards, Plaintiff’s federal claims will be dismissed for failure
to state a claim, and Plaintiff’s state claims will be dismissed without prejudice.
Plaintiff Jonathan Clifford presently is incarcerated with the Michigan Department
of Corrections (MDOC) at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility (IBC). He sues the MDOC and
the following IBC officials: Lieutenant (unknown) Moyer; Captain (unknown) McBride; Resident
Unit Manager (unknown) Mote; Prisoner Counselor (unknown) Buchin; Deputy Warden (unknown)
Davids; and Hearings Officers (unknown) Novak and S. Burke.
Plaintiff was brought to segregation on a notice of intent (NOI) to conduct a drug
analysis issued on December 10, 2016. Plaintiff requested a hearings investigator, together with
relevant documents and witnesses. Plaintiff’s hearing was scheduled for Monday, December 12,
2016. However, Plaintiff did not receive a hearings investigator, and his hearing did not take place
on December 12. Instead, on December 14, 2016, Plaintiff was issued a misconduct ticket,
apparently for substance abuse, though the date of the alleged misconduct was listed as December
10, 2016. Plaintiff alleges that prison policy requires that a misconduct ticket be issued and reviewed
within 24 hours of the alleged conduct. Plaintiff filed a grievance, which was denied at Step I by
Defendant Moyer, in collaboration with Defendant McBride. The grievance response explained the
delay in the hearing by “falsely” stating that Plaintiff had been charged with a misconduct the same
day his hearing was scheduled, December 12, 2016, rather than on December 14, 2016, as Plaintiff
alleges. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.3, 8.) The grievance subsequently was denied at Steps II and
III of the grievance process.
Plaintiff remained in segregation for six months, apparently on a Michigan State
Police (MSP) hold, while the police determined whether Plaintiff should be criminally charged for
using suboxone.1 (Compl., ECF No. 1 PageID.13.) Plaintiff alleges that the Security Classification
Committee (SCC) kept him in segregation, despite the fact that his misconduct charge should have
been dismissed because his hearing was not held in a timely manner. Plaintiff acknowledges that
he was convicted of the misconduct charge and he does not dispute that he was guilty of possessing
or using suboxone. But he claims that he is not guilty of the misconduct because the charge should
have been dropped when MDOC policy was not followed: the misconduct charge was filed too late
and he did not receive review on his charge until December 14, rather than December 12, 2016. (Id.,
Plaintiff contends that Defendants violated his right to due process by failing to
follow MDOC policy, failing to conduct a timely hearing under the policy, and failing to process and
investigate his grievances appropriately. He also claims that he was kept in segregation too long as
a result of racial discrimination, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause, because an unidentified
white prisoner, who was a “drug dealer,” was released from segregation after a shorter period of
time. (Id., PageID.11.) In addition, he complains that he was deprived of his Sixth Amendment
rights when he was not given due process within the “180 day rule.” (Id., PageID.9.) Further, he
asserts that his placement in segregation is the product of “racial discrimination, under false
pretenses of a (MSP) hold . . . .” (Id., PageID.10.) Petitioner also alleges that his treatment violated
the Michigan constitution in a variety of ways.2
Suboxone, a trade name for a combination drug formulation of buprenorphine/naloxen, which is a prescription
narcotic medication used to treat opiate addiction. See Definition of buprenorphine/naloxone, Wikipedia,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buprenorphine/naloxone (last visited Aug. 4, 2017).
The Court notes that Plaintiff’s complaint is lengthy, repetitive, largely conclusory, and written in extremely
small handwriting. It therefore is difficult to read. Plaintiff is cautioned that in any future filings he should use larger
print and should follow the directions on the form complaint, which instructs plaintiffs to list only the facts about which
they complain, rather than legal arguments.
Plaintiff contends that he has experienced pain and suffering by remaining in
segregation without a television, losing his job privileges, and having limited library access, which
made it difficult for him to complete his motion for relief from judgment under MICH. CT. R. 6.502.
He asserts that he
is suing all SCC board members, IBC staff and facility, officers Lt. Moyer, Cpt.
McBride, hearings officers, Novak, S. Burke, and deputy warden Davids, for all of
these lies, perjury within a grievance, due process violation within an [NOI], falsified
documentation, false pretenses of an MSP hold, PD. 03.05.115 time limitations to
write a major misconduct, violation of 14th Amendment due process, 6th
Amendment 180 day rule violation, 4th Amendment right to a fair trial during
tribulation, cor[r]upt officials, and covering up material facts to hide their anomalies,
in which all caused a major pain and suffering, and psychological damage to the
For relief, Plaintiff seeks $2.2 million in compensatory damages for the alleged
violations. He also seeks an order vacating his misconduct conviction and returning him to
confinement at security classification Level II, together with all of the privileges associated with
Failure to state a claim
A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it fails “‘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)). While
a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff’s allegations must include more
In the MDOC, security classifications, from least to most secure, are as follows: Levels I, II, IV, V, and
administrative segregation. MDOC Policy Directive 05.01.130 ¶ B (Oct. 10, 2011).
than labels and conclusions. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements,
do not suffice.”). The court must determine whether the complaint contains “enough facts to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Although
the plausibility standard is not equivalent to a “‘probability requirement,’ . . . it asks for more than
a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the
mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged – but it has not ‘show[n]’ – that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2)); see also Hill
v. Lappin, 630 F.3d 468, 470-71 (6th Cir. 2010) (holding that the Twombly/Iqbal plausibility
standard applies to dismissals of prisoner cases on initial review under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A(b)(1)
To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right
secured by the federal Constitution or laws and must show that the deprivation was committed by
a person acting under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Dominguez v. Corr.
Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009). Because § 1983 is a method for vindicating federal
rights, not a source of substantive rights itself, the first step in an action under § 1983 is to identify
the specific constitutional right allegedly infringed. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994).
Plaintiff sues the MDOC for the alleged violations committed by its employees.
Plaintiff may not maintain a § 1983 action against the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Regardless of the form of relief requested, 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); O’Hara v. Wigginton, 24 F.3d 823, 826 (6th Cir. 1993). Congress has not expressly
abrogated Eleventh Amendment immunity by statute, Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 341 (1979),
and the State of Michigan has not consented to civil rights suits in federal court. Abick v. Michigan,
803 F.2d 874, 877 (6th Cir. 1986). In numerous unpublished opinions, the Sixth Circuit has
specifically held that the MDOC is absolutely immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment.
See, e.g., McCoy v. Michigan, 369 F. App’x 646, 653-54 (6th Cir. 2010); Turnboe v. Stegall, No. 001182, 2000 WL1679478, at *2 (6th Cir. Nov. 1, 2000). 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)). Therefore, the Court dismisses the Michigan Department of
Plaintiff’s only allegations against Defendants Moyer, McBride, and Davids are that
they failed to supervise their employees and failed to investigate or properly resolve his grievances.
Government officials may not be held liable for the unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates
under a theory of respondeat superior or vicarious liability. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676; Monell v. New
York City Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691(1978); Everson v. Leis, 556 F.3d 484, 495 (6th Cir.
2009). A claimed constitutional violation must be based upon active unconstitutional behavior.
Grinter v. Knight, 532 F.3d 567, 575-76 (6th Cir. 2008); Greene v. Barber, 310 F.3d 889, 899 (6th
Cir. 2002). The acts of one’s subordinates are not enough, nor can supervisory liability be based
upon the mere failure to act. Grinter, 532 F.3d at 576; Greene, 310 F.3d at 899; Summers v. Leis,
368 F.3d 881, 888 (6th Cir. 2004). Moreover, § 1983 liability may not be imposed simply because
a supervisor denied an administrative grievance or failed to act based upon information contained
in a grievance. See Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999). “[A] plaintiff must plead
that each Government-official defendant, through the official’s own individual actions, has violated
the Constitution.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676. Plaintiff has failed to allege that Defendants Moyer,
McBride, and Davids engaged in any active unconstitutional behavior. Accordingly, he fails to state
a claim against them.
Due Process – Deficiencies in Hearing Process
Plaintiff was sent to segregation on December 10, 2016, on a notice of intent to hold
a hearing on the results of a drug analysis. Plaintiff complains that he was denied due process when
a preliminary review interview was not held as scheduled on December 12, 2016, ostensibly in
violation of MDOC policy. Instead, Plaintiff was issued a misconduct ticket on December 14, 2016,
which he alleges contained false (perjurious) information, because it indicated that it was issued on
December 12, 2016. Plaintiff represents that he received an initial review of the misconduct charge
on the evening of December 14, 2016. He complains that he was denied due process by the two-day
delay in being preliminarily reviewed on his misconduct and by the misrepresentation about date the
misconduct ticket was issued.
Defendants’ alleged failures to comply with an administrative rule or policy do not
themselves rise to the level of a constitutional violation. Laney v. Farley, 501 F.3d 577, 581 n.2 (6th
Cir. 2007); Brody v. City of Mason, 250 F.3d 432, 437 (6th Cir. 2001); Smith v. Freland, 954 F.2d
343, 347-48 (6th Cir. 1992); Barber v. City of Salem, 953 F.2d 232, 240 (6th Cir. 1992); McVeigh
v. Bartlett, No. 94-23347, 1995 WL 236687, at *1 (6th Cir. Apr. 21, 1995) (failure to follow policy
directive does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation because policy directive does not
create a protectible liberty interest). Section 1983 is addressed to remedying violations of federal
law, not state law. Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 924 (1982); Laney, 501 F.3d at 58081.
Moreover, to the extent that Plaintiff alleges that he had a due process interest in a
particular hearing procedure, he also fails to state a claim. A prisoner’s ability to challenge a prison
misconduct conviction or the hearing process depends on whether the convictions implicated any
liberty interest. In the seminal case in this area, Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974), the Court
prescribed certain minimal procedural safeguards that prison officials must follow before depriving
a prisoner of good-time credits on account of alleged misbehavior. The Wolff Court did not create
a free-floating right to process that attaches to all prison disciplinary proceedings; rather the right to
process arises only when the prisoner faces a loss of liberty, in the form of a longer prison sentence
caused by forfeiture of good-time credits:
It is true that the Constitution itself does not guarantee good-time credit for
satisfactory behavior while in prison. But here the State itself has not only provided
a statutory right to good time but also specifies that it is to be forfeited only for
serious misbehavior. Nebraska may have the authority to create, or not, a right to a
shortened prison sentence through the accumulation of credits for good behavior, and
it is true that the Due Process Clause does not require a hearing “in every conceivable
case of government impairment of private interest.” But the State having created the
right to good time and itself recognizing that its deprivation is a sanction authorized
for major misconduct, the prisoner’s interest has real substance and is sufficiently
embraced within Fourteenth Amendment “liberty” to entitle him to those minimum
procedures appropriate under the circumstances and required by the Due Process
Clause to insure that the state-created right is not arbitrarily abrogated.
Wolff, 418 U.S. at 557 (citations omitted).
Plaintiff does not allege that his major misconduct convictions resulted in any loss
of good-time credits, nor could he. The Sixth Circuit has examined Michigan statutory law, as it
relates to the creation and forfeiture of disciplinary credits4 for prisoners convicted of crimes
occurring after April 1, 1987. In Thomas v. Eby, 481 F.3d 434 (6th Cir. 2007), the court determined
that loss of disciplinary credits does not necessarily affect the duration of a prisoner’s sentence.
Rather, it merely affects parole eligibility, which remains discretionary with the parole board. Id.
at 440. Building on this ruling, in Nali v. Ekman, 355 F. App’x 909 (6th Cir. 2009), the court held
that a misconduct citation in the Michigan prison system does not affect a prisoner’s constitutionally
protected liberty interests, because it does not necessarily affect the length of confinement. 355 F.
App’x at 912; accord, Taylor v. Lantagne, 418 F. App’x 408, 412 (6th Cir. 2011); Wilson v.
Rapelje, No. 09-13030, 2010 WL 5491196, at * 4 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 24, 2010) (Report &
Recommendation) (holding that “plaintiff’s disciplinary hearing and major misconduct sanction does
not implicate the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause”), adopted as judgment of court, 2011
WL 5491196 (Jan. 4, 2011). In the absence of a demonstrated liberty interest, Plaintiff has no due-
For crimes committed after April 1, 1987, Michigan prisoners earn “disciplinary credits” under a statute that abolished
the former good-time system. MICH. COMP. LAWS § 800.33(5).
process claim based on the loss of disciplinary credits. See Bell v. Anderson, 301 F. App’x 459, 46162 (6th Cir. 2008).
Even in the absence of a protectible liberty interest in disciplinary credits, a prisoner
may be able to raise a due-process challenge to prison misconduct convictions that result in a
significant, atypical deprivation. But the Supreme Court long has held that the Due Process Clause
does not protect every change in the conditions of confinement having an impact on a prisoner. See
Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 225 (1976). In Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995), the
Court set forth the standard for determining when a prisoner’s loss of liberty implicates a federally
cognizable liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause. According to the Sandin Court, a
prisoner is entitled to the protections of due process only when a deprivation “will inevitably affect
the duration of his sentence” or imposes an “atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in
relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.” Sandin, 515 U.S. at 486-87; see also Jones v.
Baker, 155 F.3d 810, 812 (6th Cir. 1998); Rimmer-Bey v. Brown, 62 F.3d 789, 790-91 (6th Cir. 1995).
Confinement in administrative segregation “is the sort of confinement that inmates
should reasonably anticipate receiving at some point in their incarceration.” Hewitt v. Helms, 459
U.S. 460, 467-73 (1983). Thus, it is considered atypical and significant only in “extreme
circumstances.” Joseph v. Curtin, 410 F. App’x 865, 868 (6th Cir. 2010). Generally, courts will
consider the nature and duration of a stay in segregation to determine whether it imposes an “atypical
and significant hardship.” Harden–Bey v. Rutter, 524 F.3d 789, 794 (6th. Cir. 2008).
In Sandin, the Supreme Court concluded that the segregation at issue in that case
(disciplinary segregation for 30 days) did not impose an atypical and significant hardship. Sandin,
515 U.S. at 484. Similarly, the Sixth Circuit has held that mere placement in administrative
- 10 -
segregation, and placement for a relatively short period of time, do not require the protections of due
process. Rimmer-Bey, 62 F.3d at 790-91; see Joseph v. Curtin, 410 F. App’x 865, 868 (6th Cir.
2010) (61 days in segregation is not atypical and significant). The Sixth Circuit also has held, in
specific circumstances, that confinement in segregation for a relatively long period of time does not
implicate a liberty interest. See, e.g., Baker, 155 F.3d at 812-23 (two years of segregation while the
inmate was investigated for the murder of a prison guard in a riot); Mackey v. Dyke, 111 F.3d 460
(6th Cir. 1997) (one year of segregation following convictions for possession of illegal contraband
and assault, including a 117-day delay in reclassification due to prison crowding). But cf. Selby v.
Caruso, 734 F.3d 554, 559 (6th Cir. 2013) (13 years of segregation implicates a liberty interest);
Harden-Bey, 524 F.3d at 795 (remanding to the district court to consider whether the plaintiff's
allegedly “indefinite” period of segregation, i.e., three years without an explanation from prison
officials, implicates a liberty interest); Harris v. Caruso, 465 F. App’x 481, 484 (6th Cir. 2012)
(eight years of segregation implicates a liberty interest).
Petitioner was confined in segregation for only six months. Under the recited Sixth
Circuit authority, therefore, neither the procedure by which he was placed in segregation nor the
decisions to continue his confinement in segregation implicate due process. Plaintiff therefore had
no due process right in his prison disciplinary proceedings.
Due Process – Grievances
Plaintiff next alleges that Defendants failed to investigate his grievances, made
improper findings on those grievances, failed to return his grievances, and falsely stated facts (or
perjured themselves) in those grievances. Plaintiff has no due process right to file a prison
grievance. The courts repeatedly have held that there exists no constitutionally protected due process
- 11 -
right to an effective prison grievance procedure. See Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 467 (1983);
Walker v. Mich. Dep’t of Corr., 128 F. App’x 441, 445 (6th Cir. 2005); Argue v. Hofmeyer, 80 F.
App’x 427, 430 (6th Cir. 2003); Young v. Gundy, 30 F. App’x 568, 569-70 (6th Cir. 2002);
Carpenter v. Wilkinson, No. 99-3562, 2000 WL 190054, at *2 (6th Cir. Feb. 7, 2000); see also
Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430 (7th Cir. 1996); Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 75 (4th Cir.
1994) (collecting cases). Michigan law does not create a liberty interest in the grievance procedure.
See Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 249 (1983); Keenan v. Marker, 23 F. App’x 405, 407 (6th
Cir. 2001); Wynn v. Wolf, No. 93-2411, 1994 WL 105907, at *1 (6th Cir. Mar. 28, 1994). Because
Plaintiff has no liberty interest in the grievance process, Defendants’ conduct in the grievance
proceedings did not deprive him of due process.
Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment when they kept him in segregation longer than an unnamed white prisoner.
He concludes that his continuation in segregation therefore amounts to race discrimination.
The Equal Protection Clause commands that no state shall “deny to any person within
its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1; City of Cleburne
v. Cleburne Living Ctr., Inc., 473 U.S. 432, 439 (1985). When a law adversely impacts a “suspect
class” such as one defined by race, alienage, or national origin, or invades a “fundamental right” such
as speech or religious freedom, the rigorous “strict scrutiny” standard ordinarily governs, whereby
such laws “will be sustained only if they are suitably tailored to serve a compelling state interest.”
City of Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 440. However, while a convicted prisoner does not forfeit all
constitutional protections by virtue of his confinement, “lawful incarceration brings about the
- 12 -
necessary withdrawal or limitation of many privileges and rights . . . .” Price v. Johnston, 334 U.S.
266, 285 (1948). “The limitations on the exercise of constitutional rights arise both from the fact
of incarceration and from valid penological objectives – including deterrence of crime, rehabilitation
of prisoners, and institutional security.” O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 348 (1987)
(citing, inter alia, Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 84 (1987)).
To establish a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, an inmate must show that the
defendants purposefully discriminated against him. Vill. of Arlington Heights v. Metro. Hous. Dev.
Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 265 (1977). Such discriminatory purpose must be a motivating factor in the
actions of the defendants. Id. at 265-66. “A plaintiff presenting a race-based equal protection claim
can either present direct evidence of discrimination, or can establish a prima facie case of
discrimination under the burden-shifting scheme set forth in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green,
411 U.S. 792 (1973).” Umani v. Mich. Dep’t of Corr., 432 F. App’x 453, 458 (6th Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff alleges no facts constituting direct evidence of discriminatory motive or
purpose in Plaintiff’s placement or continuation in segregation. See Umani v. Mich. Dep’t of Corr.,
432 F. App’x 453, 458 (6th Cir. 2011). Moreover, he fails to allege a prima facie claim under the
indirect, burden-shifting framework of McDonnell Douglas v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). To
establish a prima facie case of discrimination under the McDonnell Douglas test, a plaintiff must
show that (1) he was a member of a protected class; (2) he was qualified for the job; (3) he was
subjected to an adverse employment decision; and (4) he was “replaced by a person outside the
protected class or treated differently than similarly situated non-protected employees. See Arendale
v. City of Memphis, 519 F.3d 587, 603 (6th Cir. 2008) (internal quotations omitted). To be a
similarly situated member of another class, “the comparative [prisoner] ‘must have dealt with the
- 13 -
same [decisionmaker], have been subject to the same standards, and have engaged in the same
conduct without such differentiating or mitigating circumstances that would distinguish their conduct
or their employer’s treatment of them for it.’” Umani, 432 F. App’x at 460 (quoting Ercegovich v.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 154 F.3d 344, 352 (6th Cir. 1998); see also Mitchell v. Toledo Hosp.,
964 F.2d 577, 586 (6th Cir. 1992).
Although Plaintiff alleges that an unidentified white prisoner, who purportedly was
a “drug dealer,” was released from segregation after a shorter period of time that Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s
allegations fall short of showing that the prisoner was similarly situated. He utterly fails to allege
that the white prisoner engaged in exactly the same conduct, without differentiating facts. Most
specifically, he does not allege that the white prisoner was released from segregation despite having
an MSP hold. Instead, Plaintiff’s allegations of race discrimination are wholly conclusory.
Conclusory allegations of unconstitutional conduct without specific factual allegations fail to state
a claim under § 1983. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Plaintiff alleges that he was denied his Sixth Amendment rights in the misconduct
proceedings. He appears to allege that his speedy-trial right was violated. However, the guarantees
of the Sixth Amendment are applicable only to “criminal prosecutions.” Kirby v. Illinois, 406 U.S.
682, 690 (1972). Prison disciplinary hearings are not “criminal prosecutions” as that term is used
in the Sixth Amendment. Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425 U.S. 308 (1976); Wolff, 418 U.S. at 556 (1974).
Therefore, Plaintiff’s allegations fail to state a Sixth Amendment claim.
- 14 -
State Law Claims
To the extent Plaintiff asserts violations of state constitutional law, this Court should
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction. Where a district court has exercised jurisdiction over
a state law claim solely by virtue of supplemental jurisdiction and the federal claims are dismissed
prior to trial, the state law claims should be dismissed without reaching their merits. See
Experimental Holdings, Inc. v. Farris 503 F.3d 514, 521 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing United Mine
Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726 (1966)); Landefeld v. Marion Gen. Hosp., 994 F.2d
1178, 1182 (6th Cir. 1993); Faughender v. City of N. Olmsted, 927 F.2d 909, 917 (6th Cir. 1991).
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s state law claims are dismissed without prejudice.
Having conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the Court
determines that Plaintiff’s federal claims will be dismissed for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(b), and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). His state-law claims will be
dismissed without prejudice.
The Court must next decide whether an appeal of this action would be in good faith
within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3). See McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 611
(6th Cir. 1997). For the same reasons that the Court dismisses the action, the Court discerns no
good-faith basis for an appeal. Should Plaintiff appeal this decision, the Court will assess the
$505.00 appellate filing fee pursuant to § 1915(b)(1), see McGore, 114 F.3d at 610-11, unless
Plaintiff is barred from proceeding in forma pauperis, e.g., by the “three-strikes” rule of § 1915(g).
If he is barred, he will be required to pay the $505.00 appellate filing fee in one lump sum.
This is a dismissal as described by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).
- 15 -
A Judgment consistent with this Opinion will be entered.
August 22, 2017
/s/ Paul L. Maloney
Paul L. Maloney
United States District Judge
- 16 -
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?