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Kaszuba v. Godinez

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 24, 2014

JOSHUA KASZUBA, No. R13047, Plaintiff,
v.
S.A. GODINEZ, TIMOTHY VEATH, BRANDON ANTHONEY, MICHAEL ATCHISON, DAVID JOHNSON, REBECCA COWAN, SHERRY BENTON, MINH SCOTT, and RICHARD HARRINGTON, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff Joshua Kaszuba, an inmate in Pontiac Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, based on multiple disciplinary convictions he received while housed in Menard Correctional Center.

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).

The Complaint

According to the complaint, Plaintiff Kaszuba received four disciplinary tickets in 2012 and was ultimately found guilty and punished on each occasion. He brings this Section 1983 action alleging that he was denied due process with respect to each ticket, the Adjustment Committee Hearings and investigations, and in the subsequent affirmations of those disciplinary convictions at the institutional and departmental levels. The following four disciplinary incidents are at issue:

1. An April 30, 2012, incident where Plaintiff allegedly (a) conspired to have a cellphone and marijuana brought into the prison, and (b) had sexual contact with his girlfriend during visitation, for which he was convicted and penalized with one year's demotion to C-grade, one year in segregation, revocation of six months of good conduct credit, commissary restrictions for one year, and restricted contact visits for six months;
2. A May 8, 2012, ticket relative to a letter purportedly from Plaintiff to a gang leader seeking to "fix" Plaintiff's segregation "situation, " where the ticket was dated April 26, 2013 (before the Intelligence Unit and reporting officer received the letter); Plaintiff was penalized with demotion to C-grade, placement in segregation, commissary restrictions, and restricted contact visits, all for six months;
3. A May 26, 2012, alleged offer by Plaintiff to a correctional officer involving the exchange of a contraband cellphone for sex with Plaintiff's girlfriend, for which Plaintiff was penalized with demotion to C-grade, placement in segregation, and commissary restrictions, all for one year; and
4. A May 29, 2012, incident where Plaintiff allegedly threatened to kill a correctional officer, for which Plaintiff was penalized with three months' demotion to C-grade, segregation, and commissary restrictions, as well ...

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