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Quinton Beasley v. Randy Stephens

July 7, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: G. Patrick Murphy United States District Judge



Plaintiff Quinton Beasley, an inmate in Hill Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on events that occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Lawrence Correctional Center. Plaintiff is serving a two year sentence for possession of fictitious identification. 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). "To state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that a government official, acting under color of state law, deprived him of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States." Heyde v. Pittenger, 633 F.3d 512, 516 (7th Cir. 2011). 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). Conversely, 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, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 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. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

Upon careful review of the complaint and supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A and shall dismiss this action. Introduction Plaintiff's original complaint (Doc. 1) was filed against Defendants Stephens and Ryker on November 9, 2010. On February 3, 2011, Plaintiff was given leave to file his First Amended Complaint (Doc. 11), which added Defendants Prisoner Review Board, Administrative Review Board of the Illinois Department of Corrections, and the Illinois Department of Corrections. An amended complaint supersedes and replaces the original complaint, rendering the original complaint void. See Flannery v. Recording Indus. Ass'n of Am., 354 F.3d 632, 638 n.1 (7th Cir. 2004). Therefore, the First Amended Complaint (Doc. 11) is properly before the Court for preliminary review.

However, since filing the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff has submitted a letter, construed as a Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (Doc. 13, filed Feb. 16, 2011), and another Motion for Leave to File Amended Complaint (Doc. 22, filed April 18, 2011), which are still pending. Along with Doc. 13, Plaintiff included a proposed (second) amended complaint and a supplemental complaint, neither of which include the allegations contained in the First Amended Complaint, but instead seek to add new parties and claims in a piecemeal fashion. Likewise, in the body of Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint (Doc. 22), he names additional parties and new claims, but does not include a proposed (third) amended complaint that incorporates either the allegations contained in the First Amended Complaint or the proposed (second) amended complaint.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(1) states that "[a] party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within: (A) 21 days after serving it, or (B) if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading[.]" However, in this District, "[a] proposed amendment to a pleading or amended pleading itself must be submitted at the time the motion to amend is filed." Local Rule 15.1. Furthermore, the Court will not accept piecemeal amendments to the original complaint. Plaintiff was specifically advised of this requirement in the Clerk's letters at Doc. 19 (letter dated March 24, 2011) and Doc. 21 (April 11, 2011), which both contained the warning, "In order to avoid confusion over intended claims and defendants, the Court will not accept piecemeal amendments to the original complaint."

Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint conformed to the requirements of Rule 15 and Local Rule 15.1, but his subsequent attempts at amendment and supplementation have resulted in a hodgepodge of piecemeal pleadings which the Court is not required or inclined to sort out. See Vicom, Inc. v. Harbridge Merchant Services, Inc., 20 F.3d 771, 775-76 (7th Cir. 1994) ("A complaint that is prolix and/or confusing makes it difficult for the defendant to file a responsive pleading and makes it difficult for the trial court to conduct orderly litigation."); Jennings v. Emry, 910 F.2d 1434, 1436 (7th Cir. 1990) (a complaint "must be presented with clarity sufficient to avoid requiring a district court or opposing party to forever sift through its pages in search" of what it is the plaintiff asserts).

In addition, the Court notes that Plaintiff recently filed a new action still awaiting preliminary review, Beasley v. Taylor, et. al, Civil No. 11-459-JPG (S.D. Ill., filed May 31, 2011), in which he raises retaliation claims against several of the defendants mentioned in his most recent Motion for Leave to Amend (Doc. 22).

For the reasons stated above, Plaintiff's Motions for Leave to File Amended Complaint (Docs. 13 and 22) shall be denied, and only the allegations contained in the First Amended Complaint will be considered herein.

The Complaint

In his First Amended Complaint (Doc. 11), Plaintiff alleges that the "Prisoner/ Administrative Review Board allowed its Parole Board to violate me for a faulty violation" (Doc. 11, p. 4). As a result, Plaintiff contends, during his incarceration in Lawrence CorrectionalCenter, he was classified at a higher risk security level. This higher risk level has ...

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