Piotrowski #296995 v. Snyder 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
TREVOR DANIEL PIOTROWSKI,
Case No. 2:16-cv-251
Honorable Gordon J. Quist
RICK SNYDER 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 Trevor Daniel Piotrowski, a state prisoner currently confined at the
Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF), filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against Defendants Governor Rick Snyder and Pastor Melissa Scott. Plaintiff alleges that in
2010, while he was confined at the Ionia Correctional Facility, he became aware of the fact that he
was the “Word of God in the flesh” and that his name was actually “Jesus the Christ of the Bible.”
Around the same time, Defendant Scott made an offer of marriage to Plaintiff via her television
broadcast on ION TV. Plaintiff responded to the offer by mailing a letter to Defendant Scott. In the
letter, Plaintiff proposed marriage to Defendant Scott. Plaintiff states that Defendant Scott
responded to his proposal the very next day on her show by removing her late husband’s wedding
ring from her finger and blowing a kiss at the television audience. Approximately two years later,
Plaintiff traveled by train to California to meet Defendant Scott. However, Plaintiff was barred from
entering the Faith Center and was unable to actually meet with Defendant Scott.
At some later date, while still in Los Angeles, Plaintiff wrote to Defendant Snyder
to inform him of Plaintiff’s status as Jesus, High Priest and Apostle. Plaintiff was on parole at this
time and was eventually arrested for absconding pursuant to a Michigan Governor’s request. While
in a jail in Los Angeles, Plaintiff received a restraining order directing Plaintiff to cease all contact
with Defendant Scott. Plaintiff was eventually charged with the parole violation of threatening and
intimidating behavior. During the parole revocation hearing, evidence was presented showing that
Plaintiff had sent Defendant Scott more than one-hundred love letters over the years, discussing
marriage, church, and governmental issues. Plaintiff’s parole was revoked in 2014. Since that time,
Plaintiff has instituted numerous court filings informing various state officials of his capacity as the
“Head of the Church, Apostle and High Priest Jesus and of his Republican status.” Plaintiff claims
that Public Law 97-280, which proclaimed 1983 the Year of the Bible and was signed by President
Ronald Reagan in 1982, gives Plaintiff authorization to take control of the government. Plaintiff
also claims that Defendant Scott is contractually obligated to marry him.
Plaintiff states that Defendants have violated his rights under the First, Fifth, and
Thirteenth Amendments. Plaintiff seeks an order requiring Defendant Scott to marry him and
requiring Defendant Snyder to allow Plaintiff and “His Elect” to take control of the government.
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); 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
Initially, the Court notes that Plaintiff has failed to allege any conduct on the part of
either Defendant that actually violated Plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Plaintiff does not have a
constitutionally protected right to marry an unwilling party or to take over the government. In
addition, Plaintiff’s allegations appear to be entirely delusional. The Court has the “unusual power
to pierce the veil of the complaint’s factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual
contentions are clearly baseless.” Id., 490 U.S. at 327. “A finding of factual frivolousness is
appropriate when the facts alleged rise to the level of the irrational or the wholly incredible, whether
or not there are judicially noticeable facts available to contradict them.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504
U.S. 25, 32 (1992). Examples of claims lacking rational facts include a prisoner’s assertion that
Robin Hood and his Merry Men deprived prisoners of their access to mail or that a genie granted
a warden’s wish to deny prisoners any access to legal texts. See Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327-28;
Lawler, 898 F.2d at 1198-99.
Plaintiff’s allegations are plainly irrational and entirely lacking in merit. Plaintiff
claims that he is Jesus incarnate and that Defendant Scott accepted his marriage proposal on her
television show by removing her wedding ring and blowing a kiss to the studio audience. Plaintiff
also claims that he is entitled to take over the government by virtue of his divinity. Accordingly,
the Court will dismiss Plaintiff’s action because it is frivolous. See Burnes v. Clinton, No. 00-3208,
2000 WL 1800510, at *1 (6th Cir. Nov. 30, 2000) (complaint alleging that President Clinton and
various other high-ranking federal officials were subjecting her to electronic surveillance,
mind-reading, and remote torture due to her bisexuality was properly dismissed as frivolous);
Graves v. Cohen, No. 99-4476, 2000 WL 1720647, at *1 (6th Cir. Nov. 7, 2000) (plaintiff’s claim
concerning the AIDS virus being injected into the American population by the Pentagon was
properly dismissed as frivolous); Dowell v. Tennessee, No. 92-6125, 1993 WL 169052, at *1 (6th
Cir. May 18, 1993) (affirming district court’s dismissal of claims of conspiracy to inflict emotional
distress as fantastic and delusional).
Moreover, Plaintiff has not presented any allegations by which Defendant Scott’s
conduct could be fairly attributed to the State. Accordingly, because Defendant Scott is not a state
actor, Plaintiff may not pursue a § 1983 claim against Defendant Scott. Lugar v. Edmondson Oil
Co., 457 U.S. 922, 937 (1982); Street v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir. 1996).
Furthermore, Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant Snyder, even if they were rational,
do not implicate Plaintiff’s rights under the United States Constitution. Plaintiff contends that
Defendant Snyder is depriving him of his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment due process right to
continued employment by God. However, while the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause
restricts the activities of the states and their instrumentalities, the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process
Clause circumscribes only the actions of the federal government. Scott v. Clay County, Tennessee,
205 F.3d 867, 873 n. 8 (6th Cir. 2000). Therefore, because the Defendant Snyder is a state actor,
plaintiff’s Fifth Amendment claims are without merit.
In addition, the Sixth Circuit has consistently found that prisoners have no
constitutionally protected liberty interest in employment under the Fourteenth Amendment. See,
e.g., Dellis v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 257 F.3d 508, 511 (6th Cir. 2001) (district court properly
dismissed as frivolous the plaintiff’s claim that he was fired from his prison job); Newsom v. Norris,
888 F.2d 371, 374 (6th Cir. 1989) (no constitutional right to prison employment); Ivey v. Wilson,
832 F.2d 950, 955 (6th Cir. 1987) (“[N]o prisoner has a constitutional right to a particular job or to
any job”); Carter v. Tucker, No. 03-5021, 2003 WL 21518730, at *2 (6th Cir. July 1, 2003) (same).
Under these authorities, Plaintiff fails to state a due process claim against Defendant Snyder.
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: December 7, 2016
/s/ Gordon J. Quist
GORDON J. QUIST
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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