The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alesia, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the court is (1) defendant James Edwards' motion to
dismiss plaintiff Steven Lewis' complaint and (2) Lewis' amended
complaint. For the following reasons, the court (1) denies
Edwards' motion to dismiss as moot and (2) dismisses Lewis'
amended complaint, granting him leave to submit a proposed second
amended complaint by March 5, 1999.
On January 29, 1998, plaintiff Steven Edward Lewis ("Lewis")
filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Lewis' complaint alleged that Cook County Jail officials
violated his Constitutional rights. On June 26, 1998, the court
dismissed all of Lewis' claims except for the allegation
concerning the mishandling of his legal mail and dismissed
Sheahan, Fairman, Velasco and Boykin as defendants. After the
June 26, 1998 order, only Superintendent Edwards remained as a
defendant in this action.
On August 7, 1998, Lewis filed an amended complaint. The
amended complaint names Sheriff Michael Sheahan, Ernest Velasco
(Director of Cook County Jail), James Edwards (Superintendent of
Division 9), Verlinda Alexander (the Supervisor of Law
Libraries), Mervin Boykin (Division 9 Law Librarian), Beatrice
Goodwin (Mail Room Supervisor), John Stroger, Jr. (President of
Cook County Board of Commissioners) and an unidentified mail
clerk as defendants. In addition to asserting the claim
concerning the Jail's mishandling of Lewis' legal mail, Lewis'
amended complaint contains allegations regarding inadequate
medical care and deficiencies in the law library. Pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), the amended complaint
replaces the original complaint as the complaint in this case.
On September 18, 1998, defendant James Edwards ("Edwards")
filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Edwards' motion to dismiss was
filed solely on his behalf and addressed only the claims brought
in Lewis' original complaint and not the additional claims
brought by Lewis in his amended complaint.*fn1
In his amended complaint, Lewis complains of several wrongs
that have allegedly been committed at the Cook County Jail ("the
Jail"). Lewis' primary claim is against defendants for
mishandling his legal mail. Specifically, Lewis alleges that mail
from his attorneys (both trial and appellate counsel) was opened
outside his presence. Lewis contends that there were at least
nine separate occasions on which his legal mail was opened
outside his presence. He attaches photocopied envelopes as
supporting exhibits. Lewis also suspects that jail officials have
interfered with his outgoing legal mail. Lewis apparently has
reached this conclusion based on a statement from his appellate
counsel that there was an extraordinary delay in receiving mail
from Lewis. Lewis alleges that he wrote several grievances
concerning the opening of his legal mail. In response to his
grievances, defendants apparently apologized to Lewis for the
mishandling of his mail and assured him that the problem would
cease. However, Lewis complains that he has received no
assurances that the information contained in the letters was not
improperly divulged to the state. Lewis speculates that the
information has been compromised to the state and alleges that,
as a result, he has "experienced a chilling effect of a lack of
Lewis' amended complaint also complains about the adequacy of
the law library in Division 9. Specifically, Lewis complains the
library is missing numerous volumes of regional reporters,
federal reporters, Supreme Court reporters, and various other law
books. He contends that defendant Boykin has a practice of
refusing to copy case law in the last half hour remaining of a
library session, which results in prisoners tearing pages from
books to obtain the information that they need. Lewis also
complains that Boykin has refused to obtain missing volumes from
the better equipped libraries of other divisions. Lewis further
contends that although state court Judge Gillespie entered a
court order providing that Lewis be allowed to visit the law
library for both sessions five days a week, Lewis is only allowed
to visit the library three days a week. Finally, Lewis makes
various allegations regarding preferential treatment given to
some inmates who attend the law library on a more frequent basis
and the frequent breakdowns of the copy machine.
A. Edwards' motion to dismiss
As previously explained, Edwards' motion to dismiss was
directed at Lewis' original complaint. However, Lewis has filed
an amended complaint which has replaced the original complaint.
Accordingly, the court denies Edwards' motion to dismiss Lewis'
complaint as moot.
B. Lewis' amended complaint
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the court has reviewed Lewis'
amended complaint.*fn2 For the following reasons, the court
finds that the amended complaint fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted and, ...