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Matthew T. Cullen v. Illinois Department of Human Services and Illinois Department of Corrections

May 31, 2012

MATTHEW T. CULLEN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, DEFENDANTS.



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

E-FILED

Thursday, 31 May, 2012 01:29:37 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

This cause is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss (d/e 7) filed by Defendants Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) and Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC). For the reasons that follow, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.

I. FACTS

On January 24, 2012, Plaintiff Matthew T. Cullen, pro se, filed a 143 page Complaint with an additional 139 pages of exhibits.*fn1 See Cmplt. (d/e 1). Given the length of Plaintiff's Complaint, this Court cannot definitively determine each claim Plaintiff may be attempting to raise. However, Plaintiff clearly seeks to bring an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. See Cmplt. p. 1. Plaintiff seeks to "enjoin the Defendants from their continuing endorsement, funding, and implementation of Twelve Step programing based on the ideology of Alcoholics Anonymous (referred to herein as 'A.A') as that ideology and methodology unduly discriminates against non-theists such as [Plaintiff] and impedes or obstructs secular non-Twelve Step alternative treatments, policies, and interventions." Cmplt. p. 2.

Plaintiff, who is no longer incarcerated in DOC, asserts he has standing to bring the claims, even though he is not currently mandated to attend Twelve Step programing. Cmplt. p. 2. Plaintiff asserts he has the right to seek redress for violations of his constitutional rights while incarcerated by DOC because he was offered no recourse against the violations while incarcerated. Cmplt. p. 20.

In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that DOC denied him the privileges otherwise awarded to participants in the Treatment Alternative for Safer Communities (TASC) program, including good-time credit and post-release employment assistance, because of Plaintiff's objection to participating in Twelve Step-based programming while incarcerated by DOC at Sheridan, Stateville, and Western Illinois Correctional Centers. Cmplt. p. 13. Plaintiff further alleges that DOC denied him non-secular substance-abuse treatment. Cmplt. p. 14. Plaintiff also complains that a substance-abuse counselor at Western Illinois Correctional Center distributed A.A. texts to inmates. Cmplt. p. 15.

Plaintiff also makes a number of allegations against the DHS Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. Those allegations include the claim that DHS suppressed complaints against the Twelve Step program and limited or obstructed the availability of secular, non-Twelve Step treatment options. Cmplt. p. 17.

Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, including an order that DHS and DOC (1) "terminate their unconstitutional government implementation, endorsement, licensing, and funding of treatment programs which are based on the explicitly religious, medically erroneous ideology of the Twelve Step Program" of A.A.; and (2) "terminate the coercion of persons to engage in A.A. Twelve Step programing by both [DOC] and public and private addiction treatment programs which are licensed by and/or contracted by the State of Illinois" through Defendants. See Cmplt. p. 1. Plaintiff further seeks a declaratory judgment that programs based on the Twelve Step program of A.A. violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Cmplt. p. 2. In addition, Plaintiff seeks the costs of filing suit.*fn2 Cmplt. p. 2.

Defendants have moved to dismiss the Complaint on two grounds. First, Defendants assert that the Complaint is barred by the Eleventh Amendment and that the Defendants are not persons amendable to suit. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) (dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction). Second, Defendants assert that the Complaint fails to comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fed. R.Civ. P. 12(b)(6) (dismissal for failure to state a claim).

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), a defendant may move for dismissal of a claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). When considering a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, this Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Long v. Shorebank Dev. Corp., 182 F.3d 548, 554 (7th Cir. 1999). However, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving the jurisdictional requirements have been met. United Phosphorus, Ltd. v. Angus Chem. Co., 322 F.3d 942, 946 (7th Cir. 2003).

A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal of a complaint for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For purposes of the motion, this Court must accept as true all well-pleaded allegations contained in the complaint and draw all inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Estate of Davis v. Wells Fargo Bank, 633 F.3d 529, 533 (7th Cir. 2011). To avoid dismissal for failure to state a claim, the complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). That statement must be sufficient to provide the defendant with "fair notice" of the claim and its basis. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1083 (7th Cir. 2008); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This means that (1) "the complaint must describe the claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant 'fair notice of what the . . . claim is ...


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