United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
May 10, 2005.
WILLIAM SUTHERLAND, Plaintiff,
C/O MONROE, C/O LOCKE and C/O GRAFFINO, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES FOREMAN, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff brings this action for deprivations of his
constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
previously was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and
he has tendered his initial partial filing fee as ordered.
From 1996-97, Plaintiff worked as a correctional officer at the
Pontiac Correctional Center; he is now incarcerated in the Menard
Correctional Center.*fn1 He alleges that on November 15,
2003, Defendants threatened him with bodily harm. The next day,
he was assigned a new cellmate, whom he believes to be mentally
ill. Plaintiff alleges that this cellmate, Slaughter, pulls out
his own hair, fails to wipe himself or wash after using the
toilet, talks to himself, and engages in other unspecified
behavior that poses a threat to Plaintiff's health and safety.
This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of
the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(a) Screening. The court shall review, before
docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as
practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil
action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a
(b) Grounds for Dismissal. On review, the court
shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the
complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A. An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks
an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319
, 325 (1989). Upon careful review of the
complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it
appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action
is legally frivolous and thus subject to summary dismissal.
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), an inmate complaining of the
conditions of his confinement must exhaust his administrative
remedies prior to filing suit. Failure to so exhaust is grounds
for summary dismissal of the complaint. See Porter v. Nussle,
534 U.S. 516, 524 (2002); Lewis v. Washington, 300 F.3d 829,
834 (7th Cir. 2002); Ester v. Principi, 250 F.3d 1068, 1071
(7th Cir. 2001). In his complaint, Plaintiff clearly
acknowledges that at the time he filed this action, he had not
exhausted his administrative remedies. In fact, his statement
that he "will file a grievance and otherwise attempt to exhaust
state remedy" indicates to the Court that Plaintiff had not even
begun that process at the time he filed this action. Therefore, because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies prior to filing suit, the Court does not
have jurisdiction to consider his claims.
As for Plaintiff's recently filed motion to amend his complaint
(Doc. 9), the claims he wishes to add to this action appear to
have no direct relation to the claim presented in the original
complaint. Therefore, this motion is DENIED. If Plaintiff
wishes to pursue those claims in federal court, he must bring
those claims in a separate action.
In summary, Plaintiff's complaint does not survive review under
§ 1915A. Accordingly, this action is DISMISSED without
prejudice to refiling his claims in a new action upon exhaustion
of his administrative remedies.
IT IS SO ORDERED.