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Toola O. Taylor, # B41154 v. Jack Ashby

August 17, 2012


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


Plaintiff Taylor, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is serving a thirty-two year sentence. 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.

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; a portion of this action is subject to summary dismissal.

The Complaint

In his pro se complaint, Plaintiff Taylor states that on July 8, 2010 he was issued a "major" Inmate Disciplinary Report ("ticket') for disobeying an order. He received 60 days in segregation-although he ultimately remained in segregation for 90 days. Plaintiff alleges that race motivated the decision to classify his offense as "major;" in violation of his right under the Fourteenth Amendment to the equal protection of the laws. According to Taylor, white inmates' offenses are characterized as "minor." Taylor further contends that he was denied due process at every step in the administrative processing and review of his ticket and resulting punishment, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff also takes issue with the conditions of his confinement in segregation, which allegedly amount to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. After he attempted to seek redress, Taylor was threatened with retaliation in violation of the First Amendment: if he did not stop writing grievances and letters about his situation, he would never leave segregation.

Plaintiff seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction reforming Menard's IDR review system and grievance service procedure, closing unsafe segregation cells, and condemning the baseless segregation of prisoners. He also requests compensatory and punitive damages.


Based on the allegations of the complaint, the only aspect of the complaint that fails on its face is Taylor's First Amendment retaliation claim against Defendant Correctional Counselor James Ryan. Therefore, without comment as to the relative merit of Taylor's other claims, the Court will analyze the retaliation claim in more depth.

Plaintiff Taylor filed repeated grievances and written complaints from July through September of 2010 regarding the conditions of his segregation cell(s) and the errors during his disciplinary hearing. During the first week of October 2010, Plaintiff's counselor, James Ryan, came to Plaintiff's cell. He told Plaintiff to discontinue filing grievances and ...

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