United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
SOLOMON OLIVER, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Plaintiff Jospeh Lee Slider filed this action against Belmont
Correctional Institution ("BeCI") Captain Howell,
BeCI Case Manager Mr. Ruiz, BeCI Warden Ms. Potter, BeCI
Investigator Bungardnel, the BeCI Institutional Inspector,
Mansfield Correctional Institution ("MANCI")
Sergeant Baker, MANCI Inspector King, MANCI Case Manager Mr.
Kennard, the MANCI Rules Infraction Board ("RIB")
Chief, the MANCI Classification Chief, and MANCI Warden
Sheldon. In the Complaint, Plaintiff asserts he was involved
in several physical altercations at both BeCI and at MANCI.
He claims the Defendants did not take steps to adequately
prevent the altercations, and did not facilitate his
participation in the grievance process. He seeks monetary
states he was involved in a physical altercation at BeCI. He
indicates he requested placement in protective custody but
the BeCI Warden, Inspector and Investigator refused to grant
his request. He states he was assaulted causing him to
sustain injuries to his jaw, ribs, and face. He indicates the
BeCI Inspector refused to mail grievances back to him.
then was transferred to MANCI. He contends copies of his BeCI
grievances were stolen from the property room by MANCI staff.
He states Baker was notified, but he does not specify what
information was communicated to Baker or the manner in which
it was given to him. He alleges he was jumped by multiple
inmates who made him sign a refusal for protective custody.
He contends he informed Inspector King of his issues at BeCI
and MANCI. He indicates the RIB Chair failed to document the
names of the inmates who jumped him so he was moved at a
later date into the same living quarters as one of those
inmates. This led to another altercation. Plaintiff was sent
to segregation with loss of privileges. He states he notified
Kennard, Sheldon and King, but does not provide specifics of
what information he notified them, the manner in which it was
conveyed or what their responses were to this information. He
asserts claims for “failure to access, " denial of
due process and equal protection, denial of his “First
Amendment right to redress all grievances, " and
violation of his Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendment rights.
pro se pleadings are liberally construed, Boag v.
MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam);
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), the
Court is required to dismiss an in forma pauperis action
under 28 U.S.C. Â§1915(e) if it fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted, or if it lacks an arguable basis
in law or fact. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319
(1989); Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196 (6th Cir.
1990); Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99 F.3d
194, 197 (6th Cir. 1996). An action has no arguable basis in
law when a Defendant is immune from suit or when a Plaintiff
claims a violation of a legal interest which clearly does not
exist. Neitzke, 490 U.S. at 327. An action has no
arguable factual basis when the allegations are delusional or
rise to the level of the irrational or “wholly
incredible." Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
32 (1992); Lawler, 898 F.2d at 1199.
determining whether the Plaintiff has stated a claim upon
which relief can be granted, the Court must construe the
Complaint in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff,
accept all factual allegations as true, and determine whether
the Complaint contains “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The
Plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds for relief
“requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do." Id. Although a Complaint need not
contain detailed factual allegations, its “factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level on the assumption that all the
allegations in the Complaint are true." Id. The
Court is “not bound to accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Papasan
v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). The Supreme Court
in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009),
further explains the “plausibility" requirement,
stating that A 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
678. Furthermore, “the plausibility standard is not
akin to a 'probability requirement, ' but it asks far
more than a sheer possibility that a Defendant acted
unlawfully." Id. This determination is a
“context-specific task that requires the reviewing
Court to draw on its judicial experience and common
Complaint can be divided into two parts, consisting of claims
asserted against BeCI Defendants for incidents that took
place at BeCI, and claims asserted against MANCI Defendants
for incidents that took place at MANCI. Because MANCI is
located within the judicial district of the Northern District
of Ohio, the Court will consider these incidents first.
asserts claims for “failure to access, " denial of
due process and equal protection, and denial of his
“First Amendment right to redress all grievances."
There is no inherent constitutional right to an effective
prison grievance procedure under the First, Fifth, or
Fourteenth Amendments. See Hewitt v. Helms, 459 U.S.
460, 467 (1983); Walker v. Michigan Dept. of
Corrections, No. 04B1347, 2005 WL 742743, at *3 (6th
Cir. Apr. 1, 2005). The First Amendment is implicated in the
prison grievance process only to the extent that prison
officials may not retaliate against a prisoner for filing
non-frivolous grievances. Hill v. Lappin, 630 F.3d
468, 472 (6th Cir. 2010); Herron v. Harrison, 203
F.3d 410, 415 (6th Cir. 2000). Plaintiff does not allege any
of the Defendants retaliated against him for filing
grievances. He asserts that the process itself is
ineffective. This, alone, does not state a claim for
violation of his constitutional rights.
also asserts, without explanation, that the Defendants
violated his Sixth Amendment rights. Although the standard of
review is liberal for pro se pleadings, the Complaint must
give the Defendants fair notice of what the Plaintiff's
claims are and the factual grounds upon which they rest to
satisfy the minimum pleading requirements of Federal Civil
Procedure Rule 8. Lillard v. Shelby County Bd. of
Educ., 76 F.3d 716, 726 (6th Cir. 1996); Bassett v.
National Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 528 F.3d 426,
437 (6th Cir. 2008). Plaintiff does not allege any facts to
suggest a plausible basis for a claim under the Sixth
Amendment, and none is apparent on the face of the Complaint.
Plaintiff indicates he is asserting a claim under the Eighth
Amendment. It appears he is basing this claim on allegations
that the Defendants failed to protect him from other inmates.
Prison officials can be held liable for an Eighth Amendment
violation when the official is deliberately indifferent to a
substantial risk of serious harm to an inmate. Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). To state a claim for
relief, Plaintiff must allege facts to suggest he was
incarcerated under conditions which posed a serious risk of
harm either because he personally was targeted for harm by a
specific person or group, or because he belonged to an
identifiable group of prisoners for whom risk of assault is a
serious problem. Street v. Corrections Corp. of
America, 102 F.3d 810, 814 (6th Cir. 1996). In addition,
Plaintiff must then allege facts to suggest each of the
Defendants acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind
with regard to his health or safety. Id. Deliberate
indifference “entails something more than mere
negligence." Farmer, 511 U.S. at 835. This
standard is met if “the official knows of and
disregards an excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the
official must both be aware of facts from which the inference
could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm
exists, and he must also draw the inference."
Flanory v. Bonn, 604 F.3d 249, 253-55 (6th Cir.
2010) (citing Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837).
fails to state a plausible Eighth Amendment claim. As an
initial matter, he does not indicate why he believes he was
more vulnerable to attacks than other prisoners incarcerated
in the general population of MANCI. Without this information,
neither the Court nor the Defendants can determine if he was
incarcerated under circumstances which posed a serious risk
of harm. Furthermore, he states, without explanation, that
Baker, King, Kennard and Sheldon were notified. He does not
indicate what information they were given, or how it was
conveyed to them. With respect to King, Kennard and Sheldon,
it appears they were notified after he claims inmates forced
him to sign a waiver of protective custody. Plaintiff does
not allege sufficient facts to reasonably suggest these
Defendants were actually aware of and recognized a specific
and serious threat of harm to the Plaintiff, and deliberately
failed to act to protect him from that situation. Finally, he
indicates the RIB Chairman failed to make notes concerning
the identity of the inmates who forced him to sign the
waiver, suggesting they were not charged in the incident, and