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Anthony Allen, #B-43715 v. Lawrence Kania

January 27, 2011

ANTHONY ALLEN, #B-43715, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LAWRENCE KANIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, 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. 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, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). 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 subject to summary dismissal, and still other portions are subject to severance as discussed in George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007). Facts:

Plaintiff alleges that on December 12, 2007, he wrote a grievance alleging that Defendant Schorn-Allsup refused to copy papers for him, and that as a result Defendant Schorn-Allsup retaliated by writing a false disciplinary report against him. Then in April 2009 Defendant Kania performed a shakedown of Plaintiff's cell while Defendant Ferrell watched, as part of a retaliatory scheme. That same day, Defendant Kania issued Plaintiff a false disciplinary report, which defendant Ferrell again witnessed; the report was not investigated by Defendant J. Cowan. At Plaintiff's disciplinary hearing for this report Defendants Parnell, Lee, and R. Cowan refused to call Plaintiff's witnesses. Defendant Schorn-Allsup further retaliated against Plaintiff by altering his request for legal materials so that he did not receive the materials requested.

In June 2008 Plaintiff was sent to the medical ward for treatment of an injury to his foot. Defendant Feinerman watched as Defendant Kreig placed Plaintiff's foot in a cast, limiting Plaintiff's mobility. After Plaintiff's foot was placed in the cast, he was transferred to a different cell in the medical ward which had no toilet nor running water. Two weeks later Plaintiff was moved to a new cell, but complained to Defendant Conder about the previous cell. That same day Plaintiff was transferred back to the previous cell. Over a year later, Defendant Kreig informed Plaintiff that there was nothing that he nor an outside hospital could do concerning his foot.

In March 2010 Plaintiff again requested library materials, but Defendant Clendennin informed Plaintiff that no request had been received. Plaintiff submitted another request for materials, and was informed by Defendant Schorn-Allsup that once again a request had not been received. Plaintiff then wrote two letters to Defendant Stock, complaining about the lack of service he was receiving from the library. Shortly thereafter Plaintiff was transferred to a high aggression cell house, which Plaintiff alleges was a retaliatory act by Defendants Stock, Westerman, Spiller, Schorn-Allsup, and Clendennin because of Plaintiff's complaints about access to library materials as well as filed grievances.

Discussion:

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: Retaliation

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Schorn-Allsup retaliated against him for filing a grievance by writing a false disciplinary report. Plaintiff further claims that Defendant Kania retaliated against Plaintiff for filing grievances by performing a shakedown of Plaintiff's cell, after which Defendant Kania issued Plaintiff a false disciplinary report. Plaintiff then alleges that Defendants Stock, Westerman, Spiller, Schorn-Allsup, and Clendennin conspired to ensure that Plaintiff was transferred to a different cell house, which was a high aggression cell house, in retaliation for filing grievances.

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). Naming the suit and the act of retaliation is all that is necessary to state a claim of improper retaliation. Id. Plaintiff has stated the actions taken by the above named Defendants (i.e. filing false reports, performing shakedowns, transfer to a new cellhouse), and has further alleged that these action were taken because Plaintiff exercised his protected right to file grievances. Because this is a ...


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