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Richard G. Allen v. David Mativez

February 23, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Reagan U. S. District Judge



Plaintiff, an inmate in the Lawrence 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, 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). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds that this complaint is subject to dismissal.


On August 13, 2009 Plaintiff accompanied his wife to the Ron & Jo's Gun Supplies Store in O'Fallon, IL, where she intended to purchase a firearm. His wife purchased a handgun, but pursuant to gun laws was told she would have to wait at least three days before she could actually take the gun. As Plaintiff and his wife were driving away, they were stopped by Defendant Mativez, an O'Fallon, IL police officer and other officers. Plaintiff's wife was informed that they were stopped because of a low muffler. Defendant Mativez then asked Plaintiff why he was at a gun store, and he replied that his wife was purchasing a fire arm. Plaintiff's wife was issued a ticket for the muffler, and then they were released.

On August 18, 2009 employees of Defendant Ron & Jo's Gun Supplies Store called to tell Plaintiff's wife that she could now come get her weapon, which she did. Once the weapon was picked up and placed in the trunk of the vehicle, Plaintiff's wife began driving away from the shop. A short time later, a fleet of police cars were behind the car. Plaintiff's wife pulled over, and officers surrounded the vehicle with weapons drawn, at which time Plaintiff was removed from the vehicle. Plaintiff was then cuffed by an unnamed officer so that the cuffs cut into his skin, and taken to the O'Fallon Police Department.

Once at the station, Plaintiff was once again questioned as to why he was at a gun store and why Plaintiff's wife purchased a gun. After a number of hours Plaintiff and his wife were released without being charged with any crime. Plaintiff then went to the hospital to receive treatment for the cuts on his wrists. Plaintiff contends that the named Defendants discriminated against him based on the color of his skin.


Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' actions were motivated by race. Racial discrimination by state actors violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth amendment unless it is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest. See DeWalt v. Carter, 224 F.3d 607, 618 (7th Cir. 2000). To state an equal protection claim, a plaintiff must establish that a state actor has purposely treated him differently than persons of a different race. Id.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Mativez discriminated against him when the car Plaintiff was riding in was pulled over and issued a ticket for a muffler violation. Plaintiff alleges that had he not been African American, the car likely would not have been pulled over. 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 ...

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