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Lee v. C/O Clark

November 4, 2009


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


Plaintiff, an inmate currently confined at the Robinson Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks damages foralleged violations of his right to due process of law. 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). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 590 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A complaint is plausible on its face "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiff's claim. Brooks v. Ross, No. 08-4286, 2009 WL 2535731, at *5 (7th Cir. Aug. 20, 2009). Additionally, Courts "should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements." Id. At the same time, however, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Service, No. 06-4260, 2009 WL 2498580, at *2 (7th Cir. Aug. 18, 2009).


Plaintiff had a verbal confrontation with an unnamed laundry porter over Plaintiff's laundry. Plaintiff alleges that the laundry porter reported to Defendant Clark that Plaintiff had "tried to snatch" the laundry porter into Plaintiff's cell. Based on the laundry porter's report -which Plaintiff claims is false - Defendant Clark placed Plaintiff in administrative segregation on "investigative status on allegations of possible assault." Three days later, Defendant Clark interviewed Plaintiff concerning the incident. Plaintiff informed Defendant Clark that "the laundry porter stated cussing me out and I fed into his arguing." After the interview, Defendant Clark issued Plaintiff a disciplinary ticket for "intimidation and threats." It appears that Defendant Clark based this charge - in part - on information he received from "confidential sources." Plaintiff, however, contends that the phrase "confidential sources" is simply a phrase the prison staff uses when they want to "discipline [an inmate] without justification or proper investigation." Plaintiff claims that the actions Defendant Clark violated his right to procedural due process of law.

An Adjustment Committee comprised of Defendants Jackson, Sanders, and Winsor found Plaintiff guilty of the violation. Plaintiff received the following sanctions: (1) one month "C Grade"; (2) one month gym and yard restriction; and (3) thirteen days confinement in segregation. Additionally, Plaintiff asserts that the Defendants "added one month to [his] original release date." Plaintiff contends that Defendants Jackson, Sander, and Winsor were biased against him. Specifically, Plaintiff charges that the Defendants had made up their minds before the hearing to find Plaintiff guilty. It appears that the sanctions were upheld by Defendant Evans on appeal. Plaintiff claims that Defendants Jackson, Sander, Winson, and Evans violated his right to due process of law.

Plaintiff submitted a grievance to Defendant Valerius on August 30, 2008, concerning the disciplinary ticket and his disciplinary hearing. Several months later - after not receiving a response to his first grievance - Plaintiff delivered a second grievance to Defendant Valerius. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Valerius responded to the second grievance within two days informing him that his first grievance (filed three months earlier) was still being reviewed. Several days later, Plaintiff received a response to his first grievance from Defendant Sanders (who had participated in Plaintiff's disciplinary hearing). Defendant Sanders denied Plaintiff's grievance, but in so doing indicated that the grievance had been received on October 30, 2008 ...

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