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Elzie Johnson v. Illinois Dept. of Corrections

March 23, 2011

ELZIE JOHNSON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

#A-62145,

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff, an inmate in the Shawnee Correctional Center at all times relevant to this action, 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). 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 that some of the claims in the complaint may be dismissed at this point in the litigation.

Facts:

The following version of the facts of this case is gleaned from Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 1). Plaintiff wrote a grievance in November 2009 regarding good time credit and gave it to Defendant Wettig, who did not process the grievance. Plaintiff then wrote a grievance regarding this inaction and gave it to Defendant Rhine, but the grievance went unanswered. Plaintiff then wrote a grievance to Defendant Summers, but this grievance was returned to Plaintiff unanswered. Plaintiff notified Defendant Hathaway that his grievances were being ignored, but nothing came of it.

On August 29, 2010, Plaintiff gave a grievance relating to an unspecified subject directly to Defendant Martin, stating that he was concerned that otherwise it would go unanswered. The next day, Plaintiff was transferred to segregation for unspecified offenses. After being released from segregation, Plaintiff sent complaints to the Illinois Department of Corrections offices stating that the above named Defendants were taking unfair advantage of the grievance procedure. Discussion:

Plaintiff contends that his grievances are being ignored by Defendants Hathaway, Wettig, Summers, Rhine, and Martin, and that Defendant Illinois Department of Corrections has failed to remedy the matter.The Illinois Administrative Code sets out the prison grievance procedure to be followed by committed persons. See 20 Ill. Adm.Code § 504.800 et seq. An inmate first must take his complaint to a correctional counselor for informal resolution. If this does not resolve the problem, he is to file a written grievance on an institutional form within sixty days of the incident or occurrence complained of, and that grievance should be addressed to the Grievance Officer. Each institution has one or more designated Grievance Officers who review such grievances. Should the Grievance Officer determine that the grievance is without merit, it may be denied, and returned to the inmate without need for further investigation. Where the grievance is with merit, the Grievance Officer reports his or her findings and recommendations to the Chief Administrative Officer, i.e., the warden, and the warden is to advise the inmate of his or her decision within two months after receipt of the grievance, "where reasonably feasible under the circumstances."

The inmate may appeal the warden's disposition of the grievance in writing to the Director of the Department of Corrections within 30 days of the warden's decision. The Director reviews the grievance and the responses of the Grievance Officer and warden, and determines whether the grievance requires a hearing before the Administrative Review Board ("ARB"). If it is determined that the grievance is without merit or can be resolved without a hearing, the inmate is to be advised of this disposition in writing. Otherwise, the grievance is referred to the ARB, which may hold hearings and examine witnesses. The ARB submits a written report of its findings and recommendations to ...


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