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JOHNSON v. SHEAHAN

October 24, 2005.

JEFFREY E. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL F. SHEAHAN, SHERIFF; ACTING DIRECTOR KURTOVICH; C. PLAXICO, SUP'T, DIVISION 6; JOHN & JANE DOES 1-20, Defendants.[fn1]



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MATTHEW KENNELLY, District Judge

*fn1 Defendant John Stroger, Jr., was dismissed from this action in the Court's order of March 24, 2005.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Jeffrey E. Johnson, an inmate at Dixon Correctional Center, brings this pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that while he was detained at Cook County Jail, he was not allowed to obtain a subscription to a newspaper directly from the publisher, in alleged violation of his First Amendment rights.

  Defendants Michael Sheahan, Chester Plaxio, and Scott Kurtovich have moved to dismiss. Johnson has filed an objection to the motion to dismiss, a motion opposing the motion to dismiss, a motion in opposition to the motion to dismiss, and a supplemental motion opposing the motion to dismiss. These multiple responses are somewhat repetitious but also contain different arguments. Neither the Court nor the defendants should have to ferret through four separate responses to ascertain Johnson's arguments. In the future, Johnson may submit only one response to any motion the defendants file.

  For the following reasons, the Court denies defendants' motion to dismiss.

  Discussion

  When considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court accepts the plaintiff's allegations as true, Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984), and construes any ambiguities in the complaint in the plaintiff's favor. Thompson v. Ill. Dep't of Prof. Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002). Pro se complaints are liberally construed "and [are] not held to the stringent standards expected of pleadings drafted by lawyers." McCormick v. City of Chicago, 230 F.3d 319, 325 (7th Cir. 2000). The Court may grant a motion to dismiss only if "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). A court may take judicial notice of matters of public record without converting a 12(b)(6) motion into a motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Simon, 217 F.3d 472, 474-75 (7th Cir. 2000); Henson v. CSC Credit Services, 29 F.3d 280, 284 (7th Cir. 1994).

  1. Facts

  Johnson alleges that while he was housed in Division 1 of the Cook County Jail, he was not allowed to obtain a newspaper subscription directly from the publisher. He filed a grievance, to no avail. When Johnson was transferred to Division 6, he noticed that other inmates were allowed to have foreign newspapers. He asked to be allowed to receive U.S.A. Today, the Wall Street Journal, Jewish Exponent, and the Christian Science Monitor. Defendants denied his request. 2. Analysis

  Defendants argue that Johnson failed to list all the lawsuits he has filed as directed in the complaint form required by Local Rule 81.1, which they argue requires dismissal; that at least three of the cases Johnson filed were dismissed on grounds that they were frivolous, malicious, or failed to state a claim, which also requires dismissal; that he fails to state a claim against defendants in their individual capacities; and that he fails to state a claim against defendants in their official capacities.

  a. Failure to list all lawsuits

  Defendants point out that on his original complaint, Johnson listed one action he had filed previously, Johnson v. Horn, 150 F.3d 276 (3d Cir. 1998). However, their search of cases filed in other courts revealed thirteen cases or appeals that Johnson had filed. In his responses, Johnson argues that did not file three of those cases. In reply, defendants note that Johnson identified in his responses two additional cases he had filed.

  After initially reviewing the motion to dismiss and Johnson's responses, the Court decided that it needed more information from Johnson in order to determine how many cases he had filed. The Court noted that the U.S Party/Case Index listed 114 matches for prisoner cases filed by "Jeffrey Johnson." Even after eliminating cases filed by "Jeffrey Johnsons" with middle initials other than "E" or middle names other than "Earl," some fifty-nine cases remained. The Court through its own research found Johnson v. Daiwa Bank Trust Company, 96 CV 7315 (S.D.N.Y. 1996), a case which neither Johnson nor defendants had mentioned. It also appeared that Johnson may have filed some cases while incarcerated in Georgia and Florida.

  On July 19, 2005, the Court ordered Johnson to provide the following information: First, plaintiff must provide all names ...


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