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ALLEN v. RAMOS

June 15, 2005.

ROBERT ALLEN, Plaintiff,
v.
A. RAMOS, R. TURNER, ROY L. GRATHLER, ANTHONY R. BAUER, KAY A. SURMAN, ANDREW N. WILSON, and JONATHAN R. WALLS, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, an inmate in the Menard Correctional Center, 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.

To facilitate the orderly management of future proceedings in this case, and in accordance with the objectives of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(f) and 10(b), the Court finds it appropriate to break the claims in Plaintiff's pro se complaint and supporting exhibits into numbered counts, as shown below. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

 
COUNT 1: Against Defendants Ramos and Turner for damage to his property.
COUNT 2: Against Defendant Walls for failure to redress grievances.
COUNT 3: Against Defendant Ramos for retaliation. COUNT 4: Against Defendant Surman for failure to provide proper due process.
COUNT 5: Against Defendant Ramos for depriving him of dinner.
COUNT 6: Against Defendant Grathler for harassment.
COUNT 7: Against Defendant Bauer for failure to provide proper due process.
COUNT 8: Against Defendant Grathler for failure to provide proper due process.
COUNT 9: Against Defendant Walls for denying his grievance.
  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 governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal. — On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint —
(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; portions of this action are legally frivolous and thus subject to summary dismissal.

  COUNT 1

  On January 21, 2002, Plaintiff went to morning recreation. When he returned, he found his radio/cassette player on the floor of his cell with two buttons missing.

  Plaintiff's first claim is that his radio was damaged to harass him. The only constitutional right that might be implicated by these facts is Plaintiff's right, under the Fourteenth Amendment, to be free from deprivations of his property by state actors without due process of law. To state a claim under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Plaintiff must establish a deprivation of liberty or property without due process of law; if the state provides an adequate remedy, plaintiff has no civil rights claim. Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 530-36 (1984) (availability of damages remedy in state claims court is an adequate, post-deprivation remedy). The Seventh Circuit has found that Illinois provides an adequate post-deprivation remedy in an action for damages in the Illinois Court of Claims. Murdock v. Washington, 193 F.3d 510, 513 (7th Cir. 1999); Stewart v. McGinnis, 5 F.3d 1031, 1036 (7th Cir. 1993); 705 ILCS 505/8 (1995). Accordingly, Plaintiff has no claim under Section 1983, and Count 1 is dismissed from this action with prejudice.

  COUNT 2

  Upset about his broken radio, Plaintiff filed a grievance over this matter, alleging that the radio had been broken deliberately by Turner on the orders of Ramos in order to harass him. His next claim is that Walls refused to consider his grievance over his broken radio under the "emergency grievance" procedures.

  Although an inmate "may request a grievance be handled on an emergency basis," such a request will be granted only if "the Chief Administrative Officer determines that there is a substantial risk of imminent personal injury or other serious or irreparable harm to the offender. . . ." 20 Ill. Adm. Code § 504.840. The Court finds, as a matter of law, that a broken radio does not constitute such an emergency and, as such, Plaintiff suffered no constitutional violation by Walls's refusal to consider his grievance as an emergency. Therefore, Count 2 is dismissed from this action with prejudice. COUNT 3

  Two weeks after Plaintiff accused Ramos and Turner of deliberately breaking his radio, Ramos issued a disciplinary ticket to Plaintiff for providing false information, damage or misuse of property, insolence, and disobeying a direct order. Plaintiff contends that this ticket was written solely in retaliation for Plaintiff's complaint to Walls about the broken radio.

  Prison officials may not retaliate against inmates for filing grievances or otherwise complaining about their conditions of confinement. See, e.g., Walker v. Thompson, 288 F.3d 1005 (7th Cir. 2002); DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607 (7th Cir. 2000); Babcock v. White, 102 F.3d 267 (7th Cir. 1996); Cain v. Lane, 857 F.2d 1139 (7th Cir. 1988). Furthermore, "[a]ll that need be specified is the bare minimum facts necessary to put the defendant on notice of the claim so that he can file an answer." Higgs v. Carver, 286 F.3d 437, 439 (7th Cir. 2002).

  Applying these standards to the allegations in the complaint, the Court is unable to dismiss this retaliation ...


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