Holloway #159258 v. Kinross Correctional Facility et al
OPINION ; signed by Judge Robert Holmes Bell (Judge Robert Holmes Bell, kcb)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 2:14-cv-83
Honorable Robert Holmes Bell
KINROSS CORRECTIONAL FACILITY,
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, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint for failure
to state a claim against Defendant Kinross Correctional Facility. The Court will serve the complaint
against Defendants Duncan McLaren, L. Hough, and Unknown Hubbard.
Plaintiff Randy Holloway, a state prisoner currently confined at the Alger
Correctional Facility (LMF), filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Defendants Kinross Correctional Facility (KCF), Warden Duncan McLaren, Internal Inspector L.
Hough, and Outside Inspector Unknown Hubbard. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that beginning
on March 13, 2013, for a period of approximately two months, he was confined in a high security
six man segregation cell at KCF. Plaintiff claims that the cell lacked a fire sprinkler system, toilets,
urinals, sinks, ventilation, sitting surfaces, writing surfaces, and waste receptacles. Plaintiff states
that inmates often used garbage bags and empty milk containers to relieve themselves because of the
unavailability of housing officers. Plaintiff states that during his time in the segregation cell, he
became ill from holding his urine for long periods of time. Plaintiff states that he continues to
require treatment for this condition at the present time.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants McLaren, Hough, and Hubbard have repeatedly
falsified government inspection reports regarding conditions in the six man cell. Plaintiff states that
Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights and seeks nominal, punitive and compensatory
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).
As noted above, Plaintiff names KCF as a Defendant in this case. An express
requirement of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is that the defendant be a “person.” See Monell v. Dep't of Social
Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978). KCF is an administrative unit of the Michigan Department of
Corrections. Neither a prison nor a state corrections department is a “person” within the meaning
of section 1983. Will v. Michigan Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989). Furthermore, Plaintiff's
claim against this Defendant is barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781,
782 (1978). That amendment prohibits suits in federal court against the state or any of its agencies
or departments. Pennhurst State School & Hosp. v. Haldermann, 465 U.S. 89, 100 (1984). A state’s
Eleventh Amendment immunity is in the nature of a jurisdictional defense and may be raised on the
court’s own motion. Estate of Ritter v. University of Michigan, 851 F.2d 846, 851 (6th Cir. 1988).
The Supreme Court has squarely held that the Eleventh Amendment bars federal suits against state
departments of corrections. Alabama v. Pugh, 438 U.S. 781, 782 (1978) (per curiam). KCF is
therefore not subject to a section 1983 action.
Plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment claims against Defendants McLaren, Hough, and
Hubbard appear to be nonfrivolous and may not be dismissed on initial review. Therefore, the court
will order service on these Defendants.
Having conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the Court
determines that Defendant Kinross Correctional Facility (KCF) 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
will serve the complaint against Defendants McLaren, Hough, and Hubbard.
An Order consistent with this Opinion will be entered.
Dated: October 17, 2014
/s/ Robert Holmes Bell
ROBERT HOLMES BELL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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