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Widmer v. Bramlet

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 26, 2014

MICHAEL WIDMER, # B-30985, Plaintiff,
v.
BRAD BRAMLET, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff, currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is serving a five-year sentence for intimidation, and four-year sentences for obstructing justice and fleeing a police officer. He claims that Defendant Bramlet, an assistant paralegal at Menard, has prohibited his access to the courts. He seeks injunctive relief.

Pending Motion to Supplement (Doc. 4)

Shortly after Plaintiff filed his complaint on January 27, 2014, he filed a motion to supplement (Doc. 4, filed on February 3, 2014). In this motion, he stated he planned to file an amended complaint within ten days, to add another Defendant to the action. However, Plaintiff has not tendered an amended complaint to date. Therefore, the motion to supplement (Doc. 4) is DENIED, and the Court shall proceed to evaluate the original complaint.

The Complaint

Plaintiff alleges that between June 2013 and January 2014, Defendant Bramlet intentionally refused to provide him with legal supplies and materials, including photocopies of legal documents (Doc. 1, p. 5). During this time, Plaintiff informed Defendant Bramlet several times that he had court deadlines in pending cases, and would be unable to comply with court rules if his requested legal photocopies were denied. Nonetheless, Defendant Bramlet "picked and chose" the documents Plaintiff was allowed to have copied. Id. Plaintiff contends that Defendant Bramlet knew that his actions "could possibly cause [Plaintiff] to be unable to comply with court orders and... lose [his] case(s)." Id. He encloses one note received from Defendant Bramlet on January 23, 2014 (Doc. 1, p. 10), in which Defendant Bramlet directed him to submit a motion and information on where the copies should be sent, in order to have copies made. Plaintiff says that Defendant Bramlet refused to make those photocopies for him, but does not identify which of his pending cases might have been affected by this dispute (Doc. 1, p. 6).

Plaintiff includes a list of 17 cases which he had pending in the Illinois federal district courts at the time he brought this action (Doc. 1, p. 9). Counsel had been appointed for Plaintiff in eight of those pending suits.

Plaintiff asserts that because Defendant Bramlet refused to provide him with copies of various documents, including newspaper articles, letters, affidavits, blank forms, and unanswered grievances, he was unable to file legal pleadings in compliance with court rules in several (unidentified) cases (Doc. 1, p. 6). He also states that he has been unable "to file intelligent pleadings in compliance with court rules" because of Defendant Bramlet's actions (Doc. 1, p. 7).

In addition, between October 2013 and January 2014, Defendant Bramlet refused to provide Plaintiff with legal envelopes to send mail to the Illinois Governor, Federal Bureau of Investigation, members of Congress, or Illinois State Senators and Representatives. Id. Plaintiff contends that as an indigent prisoner, he is entitled to be given envelopes to send privileged mail to these recipients.

Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Bramlet's actions hindering his access to the courts are ongoing, and he seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to stop the misconduct (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). He does not request damages.

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.

For the convenience of the Court, Plaintiff's claims shall be designated as follows:

Count 1: Claim for denial of access to the courts, for Defendant Bramlet's refusal to supply ...

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