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Garrett v. State

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

December 30, 2013

JOHNNY GARRETT, #N-20411, a/k/a JOHNNIE GARRETT, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE of ILLINOIS, ATTORNEY GENERAL, PEOPLE of the STATE of ILLINOIS, and WARDEN, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center ("Pinckneyville"), where he is serving a 25-year sentence for aggravated arson. Plaintiff originally filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on September 12, 2013, in the Middle District of Florida, under Case No. 13-cv-1420. Upon examination of the complaint, the Florida court entered an order to transfer the matter to this Court on September 17, 2013 (Doc. 2). However, due to error and inadvertence, the case was not received by this Court for docketing until December 16, 2013. This omission was discovered and corrected in the course of reviewing another case Plaintiff originally filed with the Florida court ( Garrett v. Attorney General, et al., Case No. 13-1196-JPG (S.D. Ill.); filed Nov. 4, 2013, under Case No. 13-cv-1716 (M.D. Fla.)).

After Plaintiff filed the instant case in Florida (his first of three in that court), Plaintiff filed three other actions in this district between October 18 and 24, 2013. Two of these Southern District of Illinois cases were habeas corpus actions which have been dismissed ( Garrett v. Warden, et al., Case No. 13-cv-1082-DRH, dismissed Nov. 12, 2013), and ( McClain & Garrett v. Attorney General, et al., Case No. 13-cv-1103-DRH, dismissed Nov. 20, 2013). The third was a civil rights complaint, McClain & Garrett v. Attorney General, et al., Case No. 13-cv-1087-MJR, filed on October 21, 2013. The complaint in that case consisted of disjointed, vague, and general allegations of mistreatment, but failed to indicate what harms (if any) Plaintiff himself had suffered, nor did it identify any Defendant who was personally involved in any unconstitutional actions. Plaintiff's complaint in Case No. 13-1087 was dismissed, and he was granted leave to submit an amended complaint by January 6, 2014 (Doc. 8 in Case No. 13-1087, docketed Dec. 2, 2013).

The Complaint

Plaintiff's complaint in the instant action consists of eight handwritten pages (Doc. 1), plus a one-page letter to the Clerk (Doc. 1-1) with an attachment showing some transactions from Plaintiff's inmate trust fund account. The caption of his complaint lists both "District of Orlando Florida" and "Northern District of Illinois" and is styled "Johnny Garrett versus State of Illinois, " also listing the other Defendants (Doc. 1, p. 1). The second page is entitled, "United States of America, Johnnie Garrett - Plaintiffs versus United States President - White House - Barack Obama" (Doc. 1, p. 2). The rest of this page appears to be a list of criminal charges that have been brought against Plaintiff since 1981, and the outcome of those cases.

Plaintiff goes on to reproduce what looks like several docket entries from an unidentified case, followed by the preamble to the United States Constitution (Doc. 1, p. 3). He then launches into a list of 108 numbered items which he later refers to as "complaints" (Doc. 1, pp. 3-7). This list of 108 legal claims or cases is virtually identical to a list he filed in the civil rights case still pending in this Court (Case No. 13-cv-1087-MJR, Doc. 1 pp. 11-17).[1] The first item listed is "1. Age Discrimination in Employment under, 1986, 2014." Plaintiff's list ends with "108. Gifts of Fund on Deposit In Bank Account, 1981, 2014" (Doc. 1, p. 7). Other items on this list include "Housing Discrimination litigation" (#3), "police misconduct litigation Plaintiffs Remedies" (#5), "Asserting claims of unconstitutional prison condition" (#6), "Sex Discrimination Sexual Stereotyping" (#9), "child custody litigation cases" (#25), "Age Discrimination in Employment A.D.E.A." (#34), "Workers Compensation Employment Injury lawsuits" (#37), and "loss of prospective inheritance cases" (#80), to name a few (Doc. 1, pp. 3-6).

He next makes reference to some copyright or publishing information. Finally, he says:

May Barack Obama, can answer these Complaints, these 108 complaints, answer one-by-one, separate for $500.00 each complaints, denying why related claims should be deny by the State's [sic] of Illinois, in 6 month or Default, you have 6 month to answer the complaints, And deny Any one or all, to give me an [sic] Report, why the State of Illinois, should not be suited, or lawsuits, or default Judgment will be enter Against you for $500.00 Each Complaints, you was in Illinois, So you know what I am Talking About.

(Doc. 1, p. 8). He then asks the court to "wait until the State of Illinois, here [sic] the case, in there court, once they here the case, Please take over case, in the United States District Court, for whatever district that it may be in" Id.

The complaint contains no other prayer for relief.

Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

Under § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint, and to dismiss any claims that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seek monetary relief from an immune defendant.

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.

Plaintiff fails to allege any facts or state any claims anywhere in the complaint that relate to the named Defendants. Plaintiffs, even those proceeding pro se, for whom the Court is required to liberally construe their complaints, see Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972), are required to associate specific defendants with specific claims in order to put these defendants on notice of the claims brought against them so they can properly answer the complaint. See Hoskins v. Poelstra, 320 F.3d 761, 764 (7th Cir. 2003) (a "short and plain" statement of the claim suffices under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 if it notifies the defendant of the principal events upon which the claims are based); Brokaw v. ...


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