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Cook v. City of Alton

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


May 18, 2010

ALAIN D. COOK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF ALTON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Alain D. Cook's has filed his amended complaint (Doc. 7), which is now before the Court for a preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that --

(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or

(B) the action or appeal --

(i) is frivolous or malicious;

(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(iii) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). 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, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007).

The 12-page amended complaint is primarily a string of "key numbers" and subject headings from a legal research manual. Cook makes reference to criminal cases in Madison County, as well as confinement to the Alton Mental Hospital. However, he makes no specific allegations against any defendant and, in fact, the amended complaint does not contain a caption nor a list of defendants.

According to the Supreme Court, the threshold pleading requirement of FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 8 requires a complaint allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face" in order to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted. Bell Atlantic Corp., 127 S.Ct. at 1974 (clarifying that a "heightened fact pleading of specifics" is not required)(emphasis added). In other words, the Supreme Court explained it was "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief'" by providing "more than labels and conclusions," because "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do...." Id. at 1964-65 (alteration in original)(quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). The plaintiff must plead factual allegations which show the right to relief exists beyond mere speculation by "rais[ing] a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence" to substantiate the plaintiff's claims. Id. at 1965. Thus, the Seventh Circuit has interpreted Bell as imposing a two-tiered requirement for a complaint to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion: (1) it "must describe the claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant 'fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests," and (2) the "allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising the possibility above a 'speculative level.'" E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)(citing Bell, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65, 1973 n.14).

Cook's amended complaint contains no specific allegations against any particular defendant. Consequently, this complaint does not put any defendant on notice of the particular claims brought against him or her so that the defendant could respond properly to the complaint, and Cook has failed to state a viable claim against any named defendant

Accordingly, this action is DISMISSED with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); FED.R.CIV.P. 12(b)(6).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

David R Herndon CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

20100518

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