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Postlewaite v. Tredway

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 10, 2014

JARVIS LAMAR POSTLEWAITE, No. R25461, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN TREDWAY, WARDEN MOORE, CHAPLIN VAUGHN, COUNSELOR WILLIAMS, SALVADOR GODINEZ. WARDEN DUNCAN, UNKNOWN DIETARY SUPERVISORS, UNKNOWN MAILROOM SUPERVISORS, JOHN COE, PHILLIP MARTIN, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

Plaintiff Jarvis Lamar Postlewaite, an inmate in Lawrence Correctional Center, initiated this action in August 2014. His original complaint sought only injunctive relief, in the form of medical and mental health treatment, and a transfer to another prison in order to avoid physical injury and retaliation. However, the pleading also outlined eight counts, suggestive of a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42U.S.C. § 1983 and supplemental state law tort claims. The complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted and was dismissed without prejudice ( see Doc. 5). Plaintiff was granted leave to file an amended complaint. He was warned that failure to file an amended complaint would result in the dismissal of this action and the assessment of a strike for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g). Plaintiff attempted to file an amended complaint by interlineation, asserting only a claim that he was denied access to the commissary, but it was stricken ( see Doc. 7).

Plaintiff's most recent amended complaint (Doc. 8) is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the pleading 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 Amended Complaint

The amended complaint (Doc. 8) has dropped a few defendants named in the original complaint and added others. Plaintiff now asserts six separate claims, similar to the eight civil rights claims in the original complaint:

Count 1: Phillip Martin, Elizabeth Tredway, and "Jane/John Doe" denied Dr. Coe's request that Plaintiff be permitted to see an ear specialist, in violation of the Eighth Amendment;
Count 2: Chaplain Vaughn denied Plaintiff's request to be placed on a Ramadan diet and eating schedule, in violation of the First Amendment; as a result, Plaintiff received inadequate nutrition in violation of the Eighth Amendment;
Count 3: Counselor Williams did not respond to Plaintiff's grievances, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment;
Count 4: Mailroom officials opened several legal letters in violation of IDOC rules and regulations;
Count 5: Knowing that Plaintiff was allergic to tomatoes, Dr. John Coe failed to issue an order directing the Dietary Department to not serve Plaintiff tomatoes, in violation of the Eighth Amendment; and
Count 6: IDOC Director Salvador Godinez has not responded to any of Plaintiff's letters complaining about his constitutional claims.

Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

Discussion

Count 1

Plaintiff alleges that Phillip Martin, Elizabeth Tredway, and "Jane/John Doe" denied Dr. Coe's request that Plaintiff be permitted to see an ear specialist, in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The claim, as stated, is no more than an assertion. The amended complaint does not offer minimum amount of factual ...


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