Reed #271594 v. Napel, et al
OPINION ; signed by Judge R. Allan Edgar (Judge R. Allan Edgar, cam)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 2:11-cv-56
Honorable R. Allan Edgar
ROBERT NAPEL 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 Eddie J. Reed presently is incarcerated at the Baraga Maximum Correctional
Facility (AMF). He sues AMF Warden Robert Napel and AMF Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor
According to the allegations of the amended complaint, a female corrections officer
issued Plaintiff a major misconduct ticket on August 3, 2010, for intentionally exposing himself and
stroking his penis in front of his cell window. Plaintiff admitted the conduct, but he claimed that he
did not realize that he would be seen from the outside. On August 5, 2010, Plaintiff was found guilty
and sanctioned with ten days’ loss of privileges. On August 9, 2010, the security classification
review committee reclassified Petitioner to administrative segregation because his sexual misconduct
conviction “demonstrate[d] inability to be managed with group privileges.” (Br. in Supp. of Compl.,
Ex. B, docket #2-3, Page ID#17.) Petitioner has been held in administrative segregation for more
than six months. Petitioner attaches to his brief copies of segregation behavior reviews held on
August 17, 24, 31, September 7, 14, 21, 28, October 14, November 10, and December 9, 2010. (Br.
in Supp. of Compl., Ex. C-L, docket #2-4, Page ID##18-27.) At each review, Plaintiff was
interviewed. On each occasion, the reviewing officers concluded that, because of the nature of his
misconduct conviction, segregation should be continued.
Plaintiff alleges that he was reclassified to segregation in violation of his right to due
process, because the hearing officer did not order placement in segregation as a sanction for his
conduct and no other hearing was held. He also alleges that the reclassification violated prison
policy, in which he asserts a liberty interest.
For relief, Plaintiff seeks $50,000.00 in punitive damages.
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, 45-46 (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, 129 S. Ct. 1937,
1949 (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, 129 S. Ct. at
1949. 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, 129 S. Ct. at 1949
(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, 129 S. Ct. at 1950 (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) and 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)).
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 contends that he has been placed in administrative segregation for more than
six months in violation of his right to procedural due process. “The Fourteenth Amendment protects
an individual from deprivation of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.” Bazetta v.
McGinnis, 430 F.3d 795, 801 (6th Cir. 2005). To establish a Fourteenth Amendment procedural
due process violation, a plaintiff must show that one of these interests is at stake. Wilkinson v.
Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 221 (2005). Analysis of a procedural due process claims involves two steps:
“[T]he first asks whether there exists a liberty or property interest which has been interfered with by
the State; the second examines whether the procedures attendant upon that deprivation were
constitutionally sufficient.” Ky. Dep’t of Corr. v. Thompson, 490 U.S. 454, 460 (1989). 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). Without a protected liberty interest, plaintiff cannot successfully claim that his due process
rights were violated because, “[p]rocess is not an end in itself.” Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238,
In Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995), the Court set forth the standard for
determining when a state-created right creates 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 the sanction “will inevitably affect the duration of his sentence” or when a
deprivation 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). The Sandin Court
concluded that mere placement in administrative segregation for one month did not implicate a
liberty interest because the segregation at issue in that case did not impose an atypical and significant
hardship. Sandin, 515 U.S. at 484; Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 222-23 (2005). In RimmerBey, 62 F.3d at 790-91, the Sixth Circuit applied the Sandin test to the claim of a Michigan inmate
that the mandatory language of the MDOC’s regulations created a liberty interest that he receive
notice and hearing before being placed in administrative segregation. The court held that regardless
of the mandatory language of the prison regulations, the inmate did not have a liberty interest
because his placement in administrative segregation did not constitute an atypical and significant
hardship within the context of his prison life. Id; see also Mackey v. Dyke, 111 F.3d 460, 463 (6th
Further, under various circumstances, the Sixth Circuit has repeatedly found that
confinement to administrative segregation does not present an “atypical and significant” hardship
implicating a protected liberty interest. See Jones, 155 F.3d at 812-23 (involving two years of
segregation while inmate was investigated for murder of prison guard in riot); Mackey v. Dyke, 111
F.3d 460 (6th Cir.1997) (finding no atypical or significant hardship in inmate’s placement in
segregation for one year after inmate was found guilty of possession of illegal contraband and assault
and where reclassification was delayed due to prison crowding); Rimmer-Bey, 62 F.3d at 790-91
(inmate serving life sentence was placed in segregation after serving thirty days of detention for
misconduct conviction of conspiracy to commit assault and battery). Here, Plaintiff makes no
allegation that his segregation was either atypical or significant. The only allegation he presents
regarding his segregation is that its duration has been for more than six months. The length of the
placement is not determinative. See Jones, 155 F.3d at 812. Plaintiff has failed to make any
allegations that suggest that his segregation is “atypical and significant.” Consequently, the court
concludes that no liberty interest is implicated by his placement.1
In addition, Defendants’ alleged failure to comply with an administrative rule or
policy does not itself rise to the level of a constitutional violation. Laney v. Farley, 501 F.3d 577,
581 n.2 (6th Cir. 2007); 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 protectable 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 580-81.
Moreover, to the extent that Plaintiff’s complaint presents claims under state law, this
Court declines to exercise 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.” Coleman v. Huff, No.
The Court notes that, even if Plaintiff had a liberty interest in his segregation, it appears that he has received
all the process to which he was entitled. He was reclassified to administrative segregation only after he admitted the
conduct and was found guilty of a major misconduct by an independent hearing officer. Thereafter, according to the
records attached to the complaint, Plaintiff received regular reviews of his continued segregation on a weekly and then
monthly basis. Plaintiff had an opportunity to be heard at each of these reviews. Procedural due process gives the person
the opportunity to convince an unbiased decision maker that, for example, he has been wrongly or falsely accused or that
the evidence against him is false. The Due Process Clause does not guarantee that the procedure will produce a correct
decision. “It must be remembered that even if a state decision does deprive an individual of life, [liberty], or property,
and even if that decision is erroneous, it does not necessarily follow that the decision violated that individual’s right to
due process.” Martinez v. California, 444 U.S. 277, 284, n.9 (1980).
97-1916, 1998 WL 476226, at *1 (6th Cir. Aug. 3, 1998) (citing Faughender v. City of N. Olmsted,
Ohio, 927 F.2d 909, 917 (6th Cir. 1991)); see also Landefeld v. Marion Gen. Hosp., Inc., 994 F.2d
1178, 1182 (6th Cir. 1993).
Having conducted the review now 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
$455.00 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 $455.00 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.
/s/ R. Allan Edgar
R. Allan Edgar
United States District Judge
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