Mays #218101 v. Perala et al
OPINION; signed by Judge Gordon J. Quist (Judge Gordon J. Quist, jmt)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
MARCUS D. MAYS,
Case No. 2:17-cv-00095
Honorable Gordon J. Quist
UNKNOWN PERALA 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 against Defendant Laplante.
The Court will serve the complaint against Defendants Perala and Corrigan.
Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections
(MDOC) at the Baraga Correctional Facility (AMF) in Baraga, Baraga County, Michigan. The
events about which he complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues Corrections Officer
Unknown Perala, Nurse Elizabeth M. Corrigan, and Grievance Coordinator Thomas Laplante.
Plaintiff alleges that on October 14, 2016, Defendant Perala slammed his arm in
the food slot after Plaintiff refused to drop his lawsuit against Defendant Perala’s friend Hemmila.
Defendant Perala also subsequently wrote false misconduct tickets on Plaintiff and refused to help
Plaintiff when he suffered a seizure. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Corrigan refused to provide
him with needed medical care for his injured arm, stating that Plaintiff deserved to be assaulted
for filing a lawsuit on Doctor Oh. Finally, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Laplante interfered with
Plaintiff’s use of the grievance system on multiple occasions. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and
punitive damages, as well as declaratory relief.
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
As noted above, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Laplante interfered with his use of
the grievance procedure, which prevented Plaintiff from exhausting his administrative remedies.
Plaintiff has no due process right to file a prison grievance. The courts repeatedly have held that
there exists no constitutionally protected due process right to an effective prison grievance
procedure. See Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S. 460, 467 (1983); Walker v. Mich. Dep’t of Corr., 128
F. App’x 441, 445 (6th Cir. 2005); Argue v. Hofmeyer, 80 F. App’x 427, 430 (6th Cir. 2003);
Young v. Gundy, 30 F. App’x 568, 569-70 (6th Cir. 2002); Carpenter v. Wilkinson, No. 99-3562,
2000 WL 190054, at *2 (6th Cir. Feb. 7, 2000); see also Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430
(7th Cir. 1996); Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 75 (4th Cir. 1994) (collecting cases). Michigan law
does not create a liberty interest in the grievance procedure. See Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S.
238, 249 (1983); Keenan v. Marker, 23 F. App’x 405, 407 (6th Cir. 2001); Wynn v. Wolf, No. 932411, 1994 WL 105907, at *1 (6th Cir. Mar. 28, 1994). Because Plaintiff has no liberty interest
in the grievance process, Defendant Laplante’s conduct did not deprive him of due process.
Moreover, Defendant Laplante’s actions have not barred Plaintiff from seeking a
remedy for his grievances.
See Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319, 321 (1972).
constitutional right to assert grievances typically is not violated when prison officials prohibit only
‘one of several ways in which inmates may voice their complaints to, and seek relief, from prison
officials’ while leaving a formal grievance procedure intact.” Griffin v. Berghuis, 563 Fed. App’x
411, 415-416 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing Jones v. N. C. Prisoners’ Labor Union, Inc., 433 U.S. 119,
130 n. 6 (1977)). Indeed, Plaintiff’s ability to seek redress is underscored by his pro se invocation
of the judicial process. See Azeez v. DeRobertis, 568 F. Supp. 8, 10 (N.D. Ill. 1982). Even if
Plaintiff had been improperly prevented from filing a grievance, his right of access to the courts to
petition for redress of his grievances (i.e., by filing a lawsuit) cannot be compromised by his
inability to file institutional grievances, and he therefore cannot demonstrate the actual injury
required for an access-to-the-courts claim. See, e.g., Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 355 (1996)
(requiring actual injury); Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 821-24 (1977).
requirement only mandates exhaustion of available administrative remedies.
See 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(a). If Plaintiff were improperly denied access to the grievance process, the process would
be rendered unavailable, and exhaustion would not be a prerequisite for initiation of a civil rights
action. See Ross v. Blake, 136 S. Ct. 1850, 1858-59 (2016) (reiterating that, if the prisoner is
barred from pursuing a remedy by policy or by the interference of officials, the grievance process
is not available, and exhaustion is not required); Kennedy v. Tallio, 20 F. App’x 469, 470 (6th Cir.
2001). In light of the foregoing, the Court finds that Plaintiff fails to state a cognizable claim
against Defendant Laplante.
The Court concludes that Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants Perala and Corrigan
are not clearly frivolous and may not be dismissed on initial review.
Having conducted the review required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the
Court determines that Defendant Laplante 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 will serve the complaint
against Defendants Perala and Corrigan.
An Order 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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