Dahlstrom v. Butler, Case No. 2:18-cv-101

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
Writing for the CourtHonorable Paul L. Maloney
PartiesKARL DAHLSTROM, II, Plaintiff, v. S. BUTLER et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberCase No. 2:18-cv-101
Decision Date03 January 2019

KARL DAHLSTROM, II, Plaintiff,
v.
S. BUTLER et al., Defendants.

Case No. 2:18-cv-101

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN NORTHERN DIVISION

January 3, 2019


Honorable Paul L. Maloney

OPINION

This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, 1986, and state law. 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 against all Defendants other than Defendant Butler.

Discussion

I. Factual Allegations

Plaintiff Karl Dahlstrom, II, is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Kinross Correctional Facility (KCF), where the events

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giving rise to his complaint occurred. Plaintiff sues the following MDOC employees at KCF: Warden Duncan MacClaren; Acting Deputy Warden Unknown Bigger; Inspector Jamie Corrigan; Captain Unknown Krause; Lieutenant A. Horton; Resident Unit Managers (RUM) Donald Mansfield and Todd Manard; Prisoner Counselor (formerly, Assistant Resident Unit Supervisor (ARUS)) Christopher Mortensen; Corrections Officers S. Butler, Wallace Maclean, and Unknown Laponza;1 Administrative Assistant Dave Mastaw; Nurse Wendy Ball; Grievance Coordinators Richard Russell and Charlie Anderson; and CPC Denise Peller. He also sues the State of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and its Director, Mike Zimmer, the Michigan State Board of Ethics, the MDOC, and MDOC Deputy Director Thomas Finco.

Plaintiff's complaint begins with an incident on October 2, 2016. He alleges that Officers Butler and Maclean performed a "shakedown" of his cell. (Compl., ECF No. 1, PageID.25.) Officer Butler opened Plaintiff's wall locker and her key broke off in the padlock securing that locker. Maclean inspected Plaintiff's footlocker after Plaintiff helped them remove a padlock from the footlocker. Officer Maclean remarked that Plaintiff's footlocker smelled like "booze" and then left. (Id.) Plaintiff subsequently discovered that one of his padlocks was missing, and that it was in Butler's possession. He asked her to return it. She told him that she would be sending it to the inspector and that Plaintiff would be required to pay for a new key because he must have jammed something into the lock.

Plaintiff protested that the lock was open, so Butler must have broken the key when attempting to remove it from the lock. Plaintiff asked her what he could do to protect his property.

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She told him, "I don't care about your requests or about your lock, I am just going to file my report to [the] Inspector so I can get a report to make you pay for my key." (Id., PageID.26.)

Plaintiff asked Butler for a grievance form in Butler's office. She ordered him to step away from her desk. Officer Maclean heard Butler's order, and when Maclean approached the desk, Plaintiff turned around and walked away. As Plaintiff approached the hallway, Butler yelled to him, "[A]nd if you think you can grieve me I'll have you locked up and thrown into the hole!" (Id., PageID.27.)

Officer Maclean subsequently went to Plaintiff's cubicle and Plaintiff asked him how he might obtain a new lock. Maclean told him to check with ARUS Mortensen. Plaintiff reported Butler's threat to another officer and then returned to his cell. Plaintiff subsequently left his unit to go to the prison yard. Near the exit to the yard, he saw Officers Butler and Maclean. They looked at him and smiled. Butler stated, "[W]ell, will [sic] see how he likes it when I write him up for 'Sexual Misconduct'!" (Id., PageID.28.) Officer Maclean laughed and stated, "Yea go ahead." (Id.)

Plaintiff wrote grievances on Butler and Maclean and reported their actions to a sergeant in the chow hall. The sergeant (who is not a defendant in this action) promised that she would report Plaintiff's allegations to her supervisors. Plaintiff filed his grievances the following day, October 3. He also reported Butler and Maclean's actions to ARUS Mortensen and Inspector Corrigan. Mortensen promised that Plaintiff would be reimbursed for his padlock.

On October 13, Plaintiff met with Mortensen about his grievance. Mortensen focused on Plaintiff's desire for a new padlock, but Plaintiff explained that he was also concerned about the threats and retaliation.

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On October 14, Plaintiff was called to the property room to receive a new padlock. The property officer said he was told that Plaintiff would "throw out" his grievance if he received a new padlock. (Id., PageID.31.) Plaintiff told him that was not the case. The property officer had Plaintiff sign a disbursement for the new padlock. In other words, Plaintiff was required to pay for a new padlock, contrary to Mortensen's promise. On November 3, Plaintiff filed a grievance about being charged for the padlock.

On October 16, Plaintiff informed Lieutenant Horton of the incidents on October 2, and asked him to preserve video evidence from that date. Two weeks later, he asked Inspector Corrigan to do the same.

On November 2, Plaintiff's prison account was charged for the padlock.

On November 3, Plaintiff filed a grievance seeking reimbursement for the padlock, using form DTMB-1104.2 He also filed complaints with the Michigan Civil Service Commission, the state ethics board, the state police, the state attorney general, and various crime victim services agencies. Several months later, the police told him that his complaint was turned over to internal affairs. The state ethics board and the office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs denied his complaints.

On November 9, Grievance Coordinator Anderson called Plaintiff to his office and spoke with him about the grievance with the reimbursement form. Anderson initially claimed that Plaintiff did not obtain the reimbursement form from Anderson, as he was required to do, but eventually Anderson processed the grievance and returned it to Plaintiff with a grievance number.

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On November 14, Plaintiff sent a kite to the KCF business office and the KCF inspector asking for reimbursement for the padlock. He was reimbursed on November 21.

On November 18, Plaintiff heard Butler say to another officer, "I own a shotgun and a pistol." (Id., PageID.33.) Plaintiff contends this statement was directed at him.

On November 28, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the state police for "conspiracy/solicitation to cause . . . harm." (Id.) That same day, an inmate told Plaintiff that he saw Butler tell Officer Laponza that she wanted to "get even" with Plaintiff, and Laponza agreed. (Id.)

On November 30, Plaintiff asked the KCF inspector to preserve video of the incident from November 28. Plaintiff also asked the Grievance Coordinator for the status of one of his grievances because the time for a response at Step II of the grievance appeal process had run. A few days later, he learned that his grievance was not received by the warden's office. That same day, he filed a grievance asking for reimbursement of a $1.00 notary fee he incurred when seeking reimbursement for the padlock.

On December 1, Plaintiff asked Administrative Assistant Mastaw for evidence, reports, and copies of investigations of his complaints about Butler. Mastaw responded a few days later, stating that Plaintiff's request was not supported by prison policy. Plaintiff believes that Mastaw caused the grievance mentioned in the previous paragraph to disappear.

That same day, Officer Laponza allegedly told Plaintiff that "Butler will get you in trouble." (Id., PageID.35.) Laponza followed Plaintiff out of the chow hall and whistled to a male officer with "sexual intentions," in an apparent attempt to get Plaintiff in trouble. (Id.)

Plaintiff also wrote to CPC Peller for enrollment in "enrichment" and "parole readiness" programs. (Id., PageID.36.)

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On December 3, Plaintiff kited ARUS Mortensen for any evidence of hearings regarding Plaintiff's complaints on Officers Butler and Maclean. Mortensen did not respond.

On December 6, Plaintiff wrote a grievance about the fact that his other grievance disappeared or was lost. On December 7, he received another form to appeal this grievance.

On December 7, Defendants Mortensen and Maclean denied Plaintiff's request for refund of the $1.00 notary charge.

On December 8, Plaintiff filed more grievances against Defendants Butler and Maclean.

On December 9, Plaintiff asked the KCF inspector for an investigation into his lost grievance. He also asked Administrative Assistant Mastaw and ARUS Mortensen for copies of records for completed investigations.

On December 22, Plaintiff met with healthcare officials who are not defendants in this action (Nurse Tara Weist and Nurse Nancy). They told him that his consultation with a surgeon for treatment of a hernia had not been scheduled, contrary to what he was promised at a prior visit.

On December 26, Plaintiff spoke with Nurse Weist and she told him that surgery for his hernia was not appropriate at that time because he had an intestinal blockage. She prescribed laxatives to clear the blockage.

In December and January, Plaintiff asked the Inspector and Lieutenant at KCF for transfer to another unit because he feared harassment or retaliation by Officers Maclean and Butler.

On January 17, 2017, Nurse Weist confirmed that x-rays showed Plaintiff was still constipated. She prescribed laxatives again...

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