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Jason Thomas, #B-32075 v. M. Hodge

July 9, 2012

JASON THOMAS, #B-32075, PLAINTIFF,
v.
M. HODGE, AND S.A. GODINEZ,
DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Jason Thomas, an inmate in Pinckneyville Correctional Center ("Pinckneyville"), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on incidents that occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"). Plaintiff is serving a 19 year sentence for armed home invasion. 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; this action is subject to summary dismissal. The Complaint

Plaintiff alleges that the amenities and privileges of inmates at Lawrence are substantially different from the privileges given to inmates at other "level two" correctional facilities, as of January 15, 2011 (when the complaint was filed) (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff notes several differences between the conditions of confinement at Lawrence and those at Pinckneyville, Hill Correctional Center, and Western Illinois Correctional Center: (a) cells free from a timer on the toilet flush, (b) access to "solid deodorant", (c) "hot meals at breakfast in [the] chow hall", and (d) "showers 3 times a week" amongst others (Doc. 1, p. 8). For the Court's convenience, Plaintiff provided a list of all disparities between these institutions as an attachment to his complaint (Doc. 1, p. 13).

Plaintiff requests an injunction for "equal treatment for all level two prisons" and compensatory damages (Doc. 1, p. 10).

Discussion

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Hodge and Godinez violated his right to equal protection because of the differential treatment prisoners at Lawrence receive compared with other "level two" facilities.

A "prison administrative decision may give rise to an equal protection claim only if the plaintiff can establish that 'state officials had purposefully and intentionally discriminated against him.'" Meriwether v. Faulkner, 821 F.2d 408, 415 n.7 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 484 U.S. ...


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