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Petty v. Duncan

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 1, 2014

MARSHALL PETTY, #B-13277, Plaintiff,
v.
S. DUNCAN, WARDEN TREDWAY, C/O LEWIS, LT. BAILOR, and ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff Marshall Petty, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center ("Lawrence"), filed a complaint (Doc. 1) that is now before the Court for preliminary review. Included within the complaint is a request for a temporary restraining order (Doc. 1, p. 6). As explained in greater detail below, Plaintiff's complaint violates the pleading requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Under the circumstances, the complaint shall be dismissed without prejudice and with leave to amend, and Plaintiff's request for a temporary restraining order shall be denied.

The Complaint

The complaint includes the following statement of claim, which is quoted in its entirety herein:

I wrote to the wardens about c/o Lewis Lt Bailor I Declared him as a enemy he kick me in Front of nurse rue They laugh I walk myself to seg because of Lt Dallas he put me on the other side to be away from him. He Dragged me I had a mild seizures Im afraid. c/o Lewis Do what she wants.

(Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff names the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") and four Lawrence officials[1] as Defendants (Doc. 1, pp. 1-2). Although he mentions no constitutional or statutory basis for relief in the complaint, Plaintiff seeks a "restraining order temporary" and compensatory damages (Doc. 1, p. 6). Along with the complaint, Plaintiff filed thirty pages of medical records and a grievance (Doc. 1-1, pp. 1-33).

Plaintiff also filed a "Motion for Violating my 8th Amendment 14th Amendment" (Doc. 4). In the motion, Plaintiff claims that Defendant Lewis refused to give him a non-dairy snack bag and failed to respond when Plaintiff pushed the panic button to address issues related to his diabetes and seizures (Doc. 4, p. 1). Plaintiff also claims that Defendant Lewis denied him access to ADA-compliant showers. Defendants Duncan, Tredway, and IDOC allegedly ignored Plaintiff's grievances addressing these issues (Doc. 4, pp. 1-3).

In addition, Plaintiff filed a "Motion for Retaliation" (Doc. 5). This motion is virtually incomprehensible. In it, Plaintiff seems to take issue with Defendant Lewis' failure to respond to his request for a crisis team and a clean cell (Doc. 5, pp. 1-2). He also mentions "eat[ing] half because her" (Doc. 5, p. 1).

Legal Standard

Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure dictates that a complaint must provide "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" and also "a demand for the relief sought." FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a). Additionally, Rule 8(d) requires that each allegation within the complaint "must be simple, concise, and direct." FED. R. CIV. P. 8(d)(1). The allegations in the complaint must "actually suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, by providing allegations that raise a right to relief above a speculative level." Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1084 (7th Cir. 2008) (emphasis in original). 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).

Discussion

The complaint clearly violates Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Although Rule 8 requires a complaint to contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " Plaintiff's pleading is too short and unclear to satisfy this standard. FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a). The statement of claim does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 590 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, 677 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, 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). The allegations in the complaint are far too sketchy. Although Defendants are generally identified in the case caption, the two-sentence statement of claim fails to link particular Defendants to specific acts or omissions. The complaint instead strings together names of Defendants without stating what each Defendant did to violate Plaintiff's rights, without identifying the rights that were violated, and without offering a timeframe for the alleged violations. The Court and Defendants are left to guess who did what-and when.

Further, the Court and Defendants must guess what constitutional or statutory basis for relief exists. The complaint mentions none. Even so, Plaintiff seeks a ...


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