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Curtis v. Pelker

May 12, 2006

JAMES CURTIS, INMATE #B30130, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROGER PELKER, OFFICER FLEMING, OFFICER HAMLIN, OFFICER RENYOLDS, SERGEANT CHILDERS, C/O MEYER, OFFICER HOOD, ANDREW WILSON, OFFICER NEIPERT, AND CHAD FORSTING, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, a former 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 without payment of an initial partial filing fee.

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 other pleadings 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 Meyer, Childers, and Hood for retaliation against Plaintiff for filing complaints of official misconduct against officials at another Illinois Department of Corrections institution.

COUNT 2: Against defendant Wilson for due process violations in a disciplinary hearing.

COUNT 3: Against defendants Pelker, Fleming, Hamlin, Renyolds, Childers, and Neipert for use of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment. COUNT 4: Against Defendant Forsting for refusing to respond to Plaintiff's grievances. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides, in pertinent part:

(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). After evaluating plaintiff's claims individually, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under Section 1915A to dismiss those claims that are frivolous before allowing plaintiff to proceed with his remaining claims. See also House v. Belford, 956 F.2d 711, 718-19 (7th Cir. 1992).

COUNT 1

Plaintiff states generally that while he was housed at Pinckneyville Correctional Center he complained of official misconduct among the officers there. He was transferred to Menard Correctional Center, and he states that since his arrival he has been subjected to retaliatory conduct by Menard officers who are "family members, associates, and co-workers" of officers at Pinckneyville. Plaintiff states specifically that on January 8, 2003, Defendant Meyer used discriminatory language toward Plaintiff and filed a "false" disciplinary report for insubordination against Plaintiff, in retaliation for the prior complaints at Pinckneyville. Plaintiff states that Defendant Childers co-signed the false report and that Defendant Hood brought the disciplinary report to Plaintiff's cell, but never gave him an opportunity to list his witnesses or sign the report, violating due process.

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 ...


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