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Donnie D. White, #B-31317 v. Yolande Johnson

July 13, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert United States District Judge


Plaintiff Donnie D. White, an inmate in Tamms Correctional Center ("Tamms"), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is serving a three year sentence for arson, along with three years for a drug offense, six years for possession of contraband in a penal institution, and a total of nine years for three convictions for aggravated battery of a peace officer. Plaintiff originally filed this action in the Circuit Court of Alexander County, Case No. 12-MR-16. Defendants Bonifield and Adamas removed the case to this Court on May 14, 2012 (Doc. 2), and paid the filing fee in full.

The 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, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (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

This summary is drawn from the corrected version of Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 6-1, pp. 1-6). Plaintiff asserts that he has experienced retaliation from each of the named Defendants, who have denied him services available to other inmates because he filed a prior lawsuit against them. The legal action which precipitated this alleged retaliation was White v. Moore, et al., filed in the Alexander County Circuit Court, Case No. 11-MR-22 (Doc. 6-1, p. 2). Plaintiff named Defendant Johnson (the Tamms warden) as well as unspecified prison library employees as defendants in that action. Defendant Johnson was served with that complaint on May 6, 2011.

According to Plaintiff, Defendant Johnson stated to him on June 5, 2011, that until he dismissed the complaint in White v. Moore against her and other prison staff, that Plaintiff would not receive weekly barber services or library services.

On June 14, 2011, when Defendant Adams*fn1 (Tamms library associate) visited Plaintiff's cell area, he asked if she had brought him any recreational reading material. She told him that he would not get anything unless he drops his complaint against the other library staff.

In the afternoon of the same day, Defendant Bonifield (library supervisor) came to Plaintiff's wing, and told him that until he dismisses the library staff from his complaint, he would not receive weekly library services at all. Defendant Bonifield had also been served with the White v. Moore complaint on May 6, 2011 (Doc. 6-1, p. 3).

Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Adams discriminated against him and violated his rights to equal protection when she refused to ...

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