Anderson #180023 v. Muskegon Police Department et al
OPINION; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
MICHAEL LYNN ANDERSON,
Case No. 1:17-cv-756
Honorable Gordon J. Quist
MUSKEGON POLICE DEPARTMENT 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 action will be dismissed for failure to state
Plaintiff Michael Lynn Anderson presently is incarcerated with the Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility (LRF). He sues
the Muskegon Police Department (MPD), Muskegon County, the City of Muskegon, the MDOC,
and the following individual Defendants: Assistant Prosecutors Brett Gardner and Les Bowen;
Prosecuting Attorney D.J. Hilson; City of Muskegon City Attorney Theodore Williams, Jr.; MDOC
Probation Officer Karen Buie; MPD Detective Emilio Treja; LRF Warden Shirlee Harry; Two
unidentified police officers (Unknown Part(y)(ies) #1 and #2); and unnamed other actors (Unknown
In September 2003, Plaintiff was on probation, under the supervision of Defendant
Buie. On September 26, 2003, Unknown Part(y)(ies) #1 and #2 arrested Plaintiff in his home.
Plaintiff was taken before a judge the following day for a preliminary probation-violation hearing,
at which the court set the full probation-violation hearing for October 3, 2003. Plaintiff was held
in the Muskegon County Jail from the time of the arrest until the formal hearing. On October 3,
2003, the court found that no grounds existed to find that Plaintiff had violated his probation. The
court therefore ordered Plaintiff released from jail.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Buie fabricated the allegations that Plaintiff had
violated his probation, in order to detain Plaintiff on a murder for which he was never charged.
More specifically, he contends that Defendant Buie conspired with Defendants Prosecutor Gardner
and Detective Treja to obtain a warrant to arrest him on the falsified probation violations, because
they could not obtain a warrant on the murder charge.
Plaintiff complains that Defendants Buie, Treja, and Gardner conspired in his false
arrest and imprisonment. He also alleges that Defendants Muskegon Police Department, City of
Muskegon, MDOC, Warden Harry, Prosecutors Bowen, Gardner, and Hilson, and Detective Treja,
as well as others not named as Defendants, restrained his liberty without due process of law. In
addition, Plaintiff contends that Defendants Buie, Treja, and Gardner deprived him of a fair and
impartial investigation, in violation of the Michigan constitution, and subjected him to intentional
infliction of emotional distress.
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
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); Street v. Corr.
Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir. 1996). 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).
State statutes of limitations and tolling principles apply to determine the timeliness
of claims asserted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 268-69 (1985). For
civil rights suits filed in Michigan under § 1983, the statute of limitations is three years. See MICH.
COMP. LAWS § 600.5805(10); Carroll v. Wilkerson, 782 F.2d 44, 44 (6th Cir. 1986) (per curiam);
Stafford v. Vaughn, No. 97-2239, 1999 WL 96990, at *1 (6th Cir. Feb. 2, 1999). Accrual of the
claim for relief, however, is a question of federal law. Collyer v. Darling, 98 F.3d 211, 220 (6th Cir.
1996); Sevier v. Turner, 742 F.2d 262, 272 (6th Cir. 1984). The statute of limitations begins to run
when the aggrieved party knows or has reason to know of the injury that is the basis of his action.
Collyer, 98 F.3d at 220.1
Plaintiff’s complaint is untimely. He asserts claims arising in September and October
2003. Plaintiff had reason to know of the “harms” done to him at the time they occurred. Hence,
his claims accrued in 2003. However, he did not file his complaint until August 2017, many years
after Michigan’s three-year limitations period expired. Moreover, Michigan law no longer tolls the
running of the statute of limitations when a plaintiff is incarcerated. See MICH. COMP. LAWS
§ 600.5851(9). Further, it is well established that ignorance of the law does not warrant equitable
tolling of a statute of limitations. See Rose v. Dole, 945 F.2d 1331, 1335 (6th Cir. 1991); Jones v.
28 U.S.C. § 1658 created a “catch-all” limitations period of four years for civil actions arising under federal
statutes enacted after December 1, 1990. The Supreme Court’s decision in Jones v. R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 541 U.S.
369 (2004), which applied this federal four-year limitations period to a suit alleging racial discrimination under § 1981
does not apply to prisoner claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1983 because, while § 1983 was amended in 1996, prisoner civil
rights actions under § 1983 were not “made possible” by the amended statute. Id. at 382.
Gen. Motors Corp., 939 F.2d 380, 385 (6th Cir. 1991); Mason v. Dep’t of Justice, No. 01-5701, 2002
WL 1334756, at *2 (6th Cir. June 17, 2002).
When a plaintiff’s allegations “show that relief is barred by the applicable statute of
limitations, the complaint is subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim . . . .” Jones v. Bock, 549
U.S. 199, 215 (2007). Because Plaintiff’s complaint is clearly time-barred, the Court will dismiss
the action for failure to state a claim.2
Having conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the Court
determines that Plaintiff’s action 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).
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).
A Judgment consistent with this Opinion will be entered.
Dated: September 29, 2017
/s/ Gordon J. Quist
GORDON J. QUIST
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
The Court notes that Plaintiff’s claims against certain Defendants are barred for other reasons, including
sovereign immunity, prosecutorial immunity, and the insufficiency of the allegations. In light of the obvious time bar,
however, the Court need not and does not reach those other issues.
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