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Watford v. Pat Quinn

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 8, 2014

MARLON L. WATFORD, No. R15678, Plaintiff,
v.
PAT QUINN, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Marlon L. Watford, an inmate in Menard Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on an array of alleged constitutional and statutory violations related to his ability to practice his religion during the period between (roughly) September 2009 and January 2013. Plaintiff prays for compensatory, punitive and nominal damages, as well as injunctive relief.

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). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that "no reasonable person could suppose to have any merit." Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). 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). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross "the line between possibility and plausibility. Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

Discussion

The complaint and attached supporting memorandum are 227 pages long, and another inch thick attachment of exhibits is included. Surprisingly, the complaint (Doc. 1, pp. 1-33) does not specifically identify Plaintiff's religion. The Court gathers from the memorandum and exhibits attached to the complaint that Plaintiff is a Muslim. That glaring omission from the complaint is indicative of why the complaint must be dismissed.

Identification of Defendants

The complaint is captioned Watford v. Quinn, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 10(a) requires that all parties be named. The Court cannot and will not comb through the voluminous complaint and guess who Plaintiff intended to sue. At this time, there is only one named defendant: Pat Quinn.

Defendant Pat Quinn

Relative to Governor Pat Quinn, it is alleged that by enforcing 735 ILCS 5/21-101, the Governor deprived Plaintiff of the right to get his name legally changed. Plaintiff contends that the statue effectively bars prisoners with life sentences from legally changing their names, but does not impose a complete ban on prisoners serving other felony sentences. Plaintiff further claims that not being able to change his name violates his religion-his "spiritual obligation" to, before Judgment Day, shed an unrighteous name that has been piled up with sin. Concern over this matter has purportedly aggravated Plaintiff's ulcer and irritable bowl syndrome. ( See Doc. 1, pp. 8-9; Doc. 1, Book II, Argument ...


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