Jackway #252862 v. Hansen et al
OPINION; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
RALPH D. JACKWAY,
Case No. 2:17-cv-00091
Honorable Gordon J. Quist
RICHARD HANSEN et al.,
This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321 (1996) (PLRA), 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.
Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections
(MDOC) at Baraga Correctional Facility (AMF) in Baraga, Baraga County, Michigan. The events
about which he complains, however, occurred at the Chippewa Correctional Facility (URF) in
Kincheloe, Chippewa County, Michigan. Plaintiff sues Property Room - Corrections Officer
Richard Hansen, Warden Jeffrey Woods, and the Michigan State Administrative Board.
Plaintiff alleges that on February 23, 2015, his property was packed up at the
Macomb Correctional Facility to be transferred to URF. Plaintiff did not see his property again
until March 5, 2015, when he arrived at URF. At this point, Plaintiff witnessed Defendant Hansen
breaking and discarding numerous hobby craft property items. On June 1, 2015, Plaintiff had a
final administrative property hearing and realized how much of his property was missing. Plaintiff
subsequently filed a grievance. Plaintiff also completed a list of his missing property and filed a
request for reimbursement using an Administrative Board Prisoner Property Claim form. Plaintiff
states that Defendants denied his grievances and refused his request for reimbursement in violation
of his due process rights. Plaintiff seeks 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, 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) 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); 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
Plaintiff=s due process claim is barred by the doctrine of Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S.
527 (1981), overruled in part by Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986). Under Parratt, a
person deprived of property by a “random and unauthorized act” of a state employee has no federal
due process claim unless the state fails to afford an adequate post-deprivation remedy. If an
adequate post-deprivation remedy exists, the deprivation, although real, is not “without due
process of law.” Parratt, 451 U.S. at 537. This rule applies to both negligent and intentional
deprivation of property, as long as the deprivation was not done pursuant to an established state
procedure. See Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 530-36 (1984). Because Plaintiff=s claim is
premised upon allegedly unauthorized acts of a state official, he must plead and prove the
inadequacy of state post-deprivation remedies. See Copeland v. Machulis, 57 F.3d 476, 479-80
(6th Cir. 1995); Gibbs v. Hopkins, 10 F.3d 373, 378 (6th Cir. 1993). Under settled Sixth Circuit
authority, a prisoner’s failure to sustain this burden requires dismissal of his § 1983 due-process
action. See Brooks v. Dutton, 751 F.2d 197 (6th Cir. 1985).
Plaintiff has not sustained his burden in this case. Plaintiff has not alleged that state
post-deprivation remedies are inadequate. Moreover, numerous state post-deprivation remedies
are available to him. First, a prisoner who incurs a loss through no fault of his own may petition
the institution’s Prisoner Benefit Fund for compensation. Mich. Dep’t of Corr., Policy Directive
04.07.112, & B (effective Dec. 12, 2013). Aggrieved prisoners may also submit claims for
property loss of less than $1,000 to the State Administrative Board, as Plaintiff did. Mich. Comp.
Laws § 600.6419; MDOC Policy Directive 03.02.131 (effective Oct. 21, 2013). Alternatively,
Michigan law authorizes actions in the Court of Claims asserting tort or contract claims “against
the state and any of its departments, commissions, boards, institutions, arms, or agencies.” Mich.
Comp. Laws § 600.6419(1)(a).
It does not appear that Plaintiff filed a claim in state court. Plaintiff does not allege
any reason why a state-court action would not afford him complete relief for the deprivation, either
negligent or intentional, of his personal property. Moreover, in order to satisfy due process, the
post-deprivation remedy does not have to guarantee a successful outcome, nor is it required to
provide relief equivalent to that available in a § 1983 action. See Parratt, 451 U.S. at 543-44. As
the Court has instructed: “Although the state remedies may not provide . . . all the relief which
may have been available . . . under § 1983, that does not mean that the state remedies are not
adequate to satisfy the requirements of due process.” Parratt, 451 U.S. at 544. Due process only
requires that an adequate post-deprivation remedy be available when the deprivation of property
occurs. Id. at 544. The Sixth Circuit specifically has held that Michigan provides adequate postdeprivation remedies for deprivation of property. See Copeland, 57 F.3d at 480. Accordingly,
Plaintiff’s complaint will be dismissed.
Having conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the
Court determines that Plaintiff’s complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim, under 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: November 22, 2017
/s/ Gordon J. Quist
GORDON J. QUIST
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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