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Sebron Floyd v. Jennifer Blaesing

February 9, 2012

SEBRON FLOYD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JENNIFER BLAESING, SANDRA SIMPSON, AND GREG SCOTT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge:

E-FILED

Thursday, 09 February, 2012 02:57:27 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and currently detained in the Rushville Treatment and Detention Center, seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis on his claim that Defendants have refused to assign him a job off of his unit.

The "privilege to proceed without posting security for costs and fees is reserved to the many truly impoverished litigants who, within the District Court's sound discretion, would remain without legal remedy if such privilege were not afforded to them." Brewster v. North Am. Van Lines, Inc., 461 F.2d 649, 651 (7th Cir. 1972). Additionally, a court must dismiss cases proceeding in forma pauperis "at any time" if the action is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim, even if part of the filing fee has been paid. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d)(2). Accordingly, this Court grants leave to proceed in forma pauperis only if the complaint states a federal claim. A hearing was scheduled to assist in this review, but the hearing will be cancelled as unnecessary.

LEGAL STANDARD

To state a claim, the allegations must set forth a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief ." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Factual allegations must give enough detail to give "'fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" EEOC v. Concentra Health Serv., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007), quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)(add'l citation omitted). The factual "allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level.'" Id., quoting Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555. "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged . . . . Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009), citing Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555-56. However, pro se pleadings are liberally construed when applying this standard. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009).

ALLEGATIONS

Defendant Blaesing has allegedly denied Plaintiff's repeated requests for a job off of his unit, purportedly based on Plaintiff's past history of an assault on staff in 1999 and three fights with other residents. However, the other resident involved in the same staff assault is allowed to work off the unit in the kitchen, and other residents who have assaulted staff have been allowed to work off their units. Plaintiff has not been in any trouble for the past two years.

Defendant Blaesing has also allegedly repeatedly and arbitrarily taken away Plaintiff's "points" earned from his on-unit job. Plaintiff has filed many grievances against Blaesing to no avail. Blaesing also regularly increases the price on commissary items. The increases, coupled with Plaintiff's loss of points, makes it difficult for him to "take care of himself," presumably by purchasing commissary items. He asserts that he is barely "able to buy soap and toothpaste and stuff for my hair." He seeks an investigation.

ANALYSIS

Plaintiff has no constitutional right to a job during his detention, much less to an off-unit job. See Wallace v. Robinson, 940 F.2d 243, 248 (7th Cir. 1991)(prisoner has no constitutional right to particular job assignment); Garza v. Miller, 688 F.2d 480, 485 (7th Cir. 1982)(inmate has no constitutional interest in educational or job opportunities). Further, he has no constitutional right to earn "points" for working at his job on his unit. Vanskike v. Peters, 974 F.2d 806, 809 (7th Cir. 1992)(prisoner has no constitutional right to a job in prison, nor a constitutional right to compensation for work performed). Accordingly, neither the denial of a job outside Plaintiff's unit or the deduction of points he has earned states a federal claim for relief. Even if Plaintiff had a protected property interest in the points he has already earned, he alleges no facts to allow a plausible inference that those points were taken from him without due process.

Plaintiff may be trying to make out a "class of one" equal protection claim regarding his job request. A class of one claim may arise when a defendant "irrationally targets an individual for discriminatory treatment." Reget v. City of La Crosse, 595 F.3d 691, 695 (7th Cir. 2010). "A plaintiff alleging a class-of-one equal protection claim must establish that (1) a state actor has intentionally treated him ...


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