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Roderick T. Allen v. Dr. Nathan Chapman and Dr. Fahim

August 29, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge


Plaintiff Roderick T. Allen, a prisoner at Menard Correctional Center, brings this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint.

Recently, in an Order dated July 9, 2012, the Court denied three of Plaintiff's motions to amend his complaint because he had not tendered a proposed amended complaint with the motions (Doc. 33). Plaintiff was given leave, however, to file a new motion to amend, with a proposed amended complaint, by August 13, 2012. He was advised that if he did not do so the Court would proceed to review his original complaint. The Court also admonished Plaintiff not to file repetitive motions, noting its review of Plaintiff's complaint was being delayed by the 20 motions Plaintiff had filed.

It is now past August 13, and Plaintiff has not filed a motion for leave to amend or proposed amended complaint. Instead, Plaintiff moves for an extension of time, saying he did not expect to have his legal papers until the end of July or later (Doc. 34). He also says Menard staff is sabotaging his legal work by putting him in a cell with an inmate who will not allow Plaintiff to turn on the light when doing legal work. Despite the delay in obtaining his legal papers, and despite his cellmate, Plaintiff has filed five new motions. In one of those motions Plaintiff informs the Court that he still does not have his legal papers (Doc. 38). Nevertheless, Plaintiff's motion for an extension of time to file an amended complaint is DENIED (Doc. 34), since he has proven he has no difficulty filing motions. He does not say what the legal papers are or why he needs them. In addition, granting Plaintiff additional time to amend his complaint would likely be futile. See Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962); Stanard v. Nygren, 658 F.3d 792, 797 (7th Cir.2011). The allegations in his complaint and in his many motions are so vague and implausible that allowing him additional time would not likely help.

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 upon 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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). 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, 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 the 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 construed liberally. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir.2009).

Upon careful review of the complaint (Doc. 1), the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; the complaint is subject to summary dismissal.

In Count 1, Plaintiff claims he was overexposed to X-ray radiation on July 27, 2009, during a routine X-ray in the Health Care Unit at Menard Correctional Center. He asks the Court to verify that overexposure occurred, order Menard to post warning signs and information about protective gear, and award plaintiff future medical costs and punitive damages. Plaintiff refers to Exhibit A, a letter from James Alms telling Plaintiff that his grievance about exposure to X-ray radiation was not in his file and had been returned to him because he had not followed the proper procedure for filing the grievance.

In Count 2, Plaintiff claims a Health Care Unit staff member gave him a contaminated tuberculosis skin test on February 26, 2010. He refused to be given the same test in March 2011. Plaintiff refers to Exhibit B, grievances he has filed and the administration's responses.

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Yet Plaintiff's one-sentence statement about exposure to radiation does not give enough information about his claim. Likewise, his allegation about the contaminated skin test contains only two sentences. He does not say how he knows he was overexposed to radiation or how the skin test was contaminated. He does not say whether he suffered any harm or was treated after either incident. He does not mention either Defendant Chapman or Fahim. Consequently, Plaintiff does not plead enough facts to state a claim for relief that is ...

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