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Michael Oliver, # A-11-0204 v. Cpt. Boyd

June 25, 2012


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


Plaintiff Michael Oliver, a former pretrial detainee in Tri-County Detention Center ("Tri-County"), 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:

(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). 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, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), 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 any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

The Complaint

Plaintiff alleges that on September 24, 2011, he was falsely imprisoned. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Arresting Officer lied at a preliminary hearing, which led to Plaintiff being detained (Doc. 1, p. 5). Upon being incarcerated at Tri-County, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Boyd denied him the ability to send mail to or receive visits from Kiara Jackson and Carolyn Whitaker (Doc. 1, p. 15). However, Plaintiff also includes with his complaint a fax from the Alexander County Sheriff prohibiting contact with both Jackson and Whitaker (Doc. 1, p. 16).

In addition to having his mail "tampered with," Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Lyerla (C/O at Tri-County) placed him in segregation in retaliation for a grievance Plaintiff filed (Doc. 1, pp. 5, 8). Additionally, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Lyerla took Plaintiff's cleaning supplies away from him so that his cell became "unsanitary" (Doc. 1, p. 8). Finally, Plaintiff makes general allegations that "poison has been put in [his] food" and he has been "given strange drugs that make [him] feel like dying" (Doc. 1, p. 5). Specifically, Plaintiff's complaint contains medication records suggesting he was prescribed Flexeril, Tramadol, and Neurontin*fn1 while at Tri-County (Doc. 1, pp. 10-11). However, Plaintiff does not assert that any of the named or unnamed Defendants were responsible for these actions.

Plaintiff requests a jury trial, compensatory relief, and an injunction for a "full investigation of [Tri-County]" (Doc. 1, p. 6).


Based on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into five (5) counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as to their merit.

Count 1 -- False Imprisonment

Plaintiff alleges that he was "imprisoned" based on the false testimony of Defendant Arresting Officer. Since filing this action, Plaintiff has been released from Tri-County and is no longer in custody (Doc. 13). When a Plaintiff brings a claim for false conviction or imprisonment under § 1983, the Supreme Court has held:

In order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for ...

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