Gibbs v. Skytta, Case No. 2:18-cv-139

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
Writing for the CourtHonorable Gordon J. Quist
PartiesSTANLEY L. GIBBS #162140, Plaintiff, v. M. SKYTTA et al., Defendants.
Decision Date04 December 2018
Docket NumberCase No. 2:18-cv-139

STANLEY L. GIBBS #162140, Plaintiff,
v.
M. SKYTTA et al., Defendants.

Case No. 2:18-cv-139

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN NORTHERN DIVISION

December 4, 2018


Honorable Gordon J. Quist

OPINION

This is a civil rights action brought by a state prisoner under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 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 Defendants Meyers, Washington, Lesatz, Cordanado, Massie, Wickstrom, Mayo, Marshal, and Meneric.

Discussion

I. Factual Allegations

Plaintiff is presently incarcerated with the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) at the Baraga Correctional Facility (AMF) in Baraga, Michigan. The events about which

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he complains occurred at that facility. Plaintiff sues MDOC Director Heidi Washington and the following MDOC employees at AMF: Warden Daniel Lesatz; Deputy Warden Lincoln Marshal;1 Assistant Resident Unit Supervisors (ARUS) Unknown DeForge and Unknown Bastain;2 Lieutenant Unknown Wickstom; Sergeant Unknown Wertanen; Classification Director Unknown Adams; and Correctional Officers M. Skytta, Unknown Dube, P. Mayo, Unknown Massie, Unknown Erkkila, Unknown Huhta, Unknown Lanctot, Unknown Meneric, Unknown Cordanado,3 Unknown Meyers, and Unknown Hemmila.

Plaintiff alleges that, on September 8, 2017, he received a prison job assignment with the yard crew in 6-Unit at AMF. After he worked for 90 days, he was supposed to receive a pay raise, but he did not. He wrote a grievance against Classification Director Adams for not paying him "full state pay." (Am. Compl., ECF No. 11, PageID.65.) Plaintiff alleges that Adams discriminated against him because he is African-American and he was receiving $25.00 per month whereas white prisoners working the same detail were making almost $70.00 per month.

In addition, according to a memo written by Warden Lesatz, a prisoner working on the yard crew from November 15, 2017 to April 18, 2018, was to be paid time and a half due to severe weather. Plaintiff alleges that he never received that pay from Defendants Adams or Deforge.

Plaintiff wrote a grievance on Defendants Adams and Deforge. On November 12, he was called out for a meeting in Defendant Deforge's office regarding the grievance. Defendants Adams and Huhta were also present. The three of them threatened to remove Plaintiff from his

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job and to take $9.00 from his prison account if he did not "sign off" on the grievance. (Id.) They also told him that if he did not sign off, they would have other officers harass Plaintiff and write false misconduct tickets on Plaintiff to have him placed in the "hole." (Id.) Plaintiff signed off on the grievance. Later that day or the following day, $9.00 was taken from his prison account.

About two months later, Plaintiff filed another grievance on Deforge because Plaintiff believed that he was being underpaid. In response to the grievance, Deforge threatened Plaintiff, telling him that if he didn't sign off on the grievance then he would take Plaintiff's job away by having other officers (Erkilla, Dube, and Huhta) write false misconducts on Plaintiff to put him in the "hole." (Id.)

On January 6, 2018, Defendant Erkilla allegedly started to "harass" Plaintiff, telling him that because he filed a grievance on Deforge and refused to sign off on it, Plaintiff would have "nothing coming" from Erkilla, and would be "last to get prisoner store and J-pay in 6-unit." (Id., PageID.66.)

On March 22, Defendant Meneric interviewed Plaintiff about a grievance Plaintiff had written on Officer Dube. Apparently, Dube allegedly threatened to allow other officers to ransack Plaintiff's cell if Plaintiff did not sign off on the grievance against Dube.

That same day, Plaintiff filed a grievance against Officer Huhta for threatening to help Defendant Deforge "set [Plaintiff] up" because Plaintiff had filed grievances on other officers in the unit. (Id., PageID.68.) Huhta told Plaintiff that he was going to "work on putting Plaintiff in the hole." (Id.) Plaintiff filed several grievances on Huhta in March and April and then Huhta allegedly helped Dube put Plaintiff in the "hole." (Id.)

On March 28, Dube told Plaintiff that if he did not stop writing grievances on Deforge and other officers in 6-unit, Dube would put Plaintiff in the "hole." (Id., PageID.66.)

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Dube also went to Plaintiff's cell and "trashed" Plaintiff's property, throwing his pictures, clothing, and documents on the floor. (Id.) That same day, Plaintiff received a misconduct for destruction and misuse of property.

Over the next two weeks at the end of March and in early April, Plaintiff wrote four grievances on Officer Dube. Officer Dube subsequently wrote a "false" "threatening behavior" misconduct report on Plaintiff. (Id.)

Sergeant Wartanen interviewed Plaintiff regarding the grievances on Officer Dube. Wartanen allegedly threatened that if Plaintiff did not sign off on the grievances, he "wouldn't be in 6-unit too much longer;" he would be placed in the "hole." (Id.)

On April 3, Plaintiff wrote several grievances on Defendant Hemmila for "harassment" because Hemmila allegedly threatened to help Deforge, Huhta, and Dube put Plaintiff in the "hole" for writing too many grievances. (Id., PageID.68.) Hemmila told Plaintiff that if he did not stop writing grievances, "Defendants" would withhold items from Plaintiff's food trays. (Id.)

On April 18, Officer Skytta escorted Plaintiff to segregation for the threatening behavior misconduct report written by Defendant Dube. Skytta told Plaintiff he would make sure that Plaintiff would "never get out of the hole." (Id., PageID.66.) Skytta wrote another "false" "threatening behavior" ticket on Plaintiff, causing Plaintiff's confinement in segregation to extend to May 31, 2018.

On May 31, Officer Lanctot allegedly retaliated against Plaintiff for filing a grievance against Officer Bastain. Lanctot told Plaintiff that if Plaintiff did not stop writing grievances, Lanctot would "make sure he took Plaintiff's food trays away and put Plaintiff on food

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loaf" by writing a false misconduct. (Id., PageID.67.) Apparently, Lanctot wrote a "false" misconduct on Plaintiff later that day.

That same day, Skytta escorted Plaintiff back to his cell. While doing so, Skytta allegedly "assaulted" Plaintiff and refused him medical care. (Id., PageID.66.) Plaintiff told Skytta that he was going to write another grievance on Skytta for the assault and for Skytta's threat. Skytta wrote another "false" misconduct ticket on Plaintiff, calling Plaintiff a "little bitch" who was "just like the rest of the ni**ers on A-wing." (Id.)

On June 7, Defendants Massie and Wickstrom refused to give Plaintiff a hearing on the two allegedly false misconducts that were written by Defendants Skytta and Lanctot on May 31. As a result, Plaintiff was found guilty of disobeying a direct order and threatening conduct. (Id., PageID.67.)

On June 14, Plaintiff wrote a grievance on Officer Bastain because Bastain threatened Plaintiff that if he "didn't stop writing grievances on him [Bastain] and the other defendants," then Bastain would keep Plaintiff "on the worst wing in 3-unit where all the rats, insects and filthy dirty cell[s] are and not put Plaintiff on the honor wings - upper B and D and C." (Id.) Bastain also threatened to keep Plaintiff in segregation longer if Plaintiff continued to write grievances on staff members. Plaintiff filed several grievances against Bastain for making these comments.

On July 11, Skytta allegedly "sexually harassed" Plaintiff, threatening to "fuck [Plaintiff] in the ass hole and make you suck my dick." (Id.) Plaintiff filed a PREA grievance about these comments.

On August 1, Officer Cordanado threatened to write a false misconduct on Plaintiff to keep him in segregation longer, after Cordanado discovered that Skytta had been removed from

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A-wing for two weeks as a result of "facts Plaintiff had written in several grievances on Skytta." (Id.) Cordanado also went to Plaintiff's cell when Plaintiff was in the showers and threw Plaintiff's clothes on the floor.

On August 2, Skytta took Plaintiff's personal television and took him "off Stage-4" and put him "back on Stage-3" so that "Plaintiff would lose prisoner store and the use of the telephone." (Id.) Two days later, Skytta allegedly threatened to poison Plaintiff's food trays.

Between March and August 2018, Plaintiff filed multiple grievances against Defendants Mayo and Marshal for failing to process grievances. Mayo is the Grievance Coordinator. Marshal is Mayo's supervisor.

Plaintiff also sent multiple kites, letters, and complaints about the conduct of other officers to Defendant Lesatz. He did not respond. Plaintiff also sent grievances to Washington about the actions of the other officials, but she did not correct those actions.

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff asserts the following claims under state law: libel, slander, abuse of process, ethnic intimidation, and malicious prosecution. Plaintiff also brings claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1986. He claims that Defendants have denied him his rights under the First Amendment, deprived him of privacy under the Fourth Amendment, denied him due process and equal protection guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and subjected him to...

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