United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
December 16, 2014
STEVEN L. LOUPE and TIMOTHY BOHANNAN, Plaintiffs,
IDHS and RUSHVILLE TDF, Defendants
Steven L Loupe, Plaintiff, Pro se, Rushville, IL.
Timothy S BoHannan, Plaintiff, Pro se, Rushville, IL.
MERIT REVIEW ORDER
HAROLD A. BAKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
The plaintiffs petition for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. The " privilege to proceed without posting security for costs and fees is reserved to the many truly impoverished litigants who, within the District Court's sound discretion, would remain without legal remedy if such privilege were not afforded to them." Brewster v. North Am. Van Lines, Inc., 461 F.2d 649, 651 (7th Cir. 1972). Additionally, a court must dismiss cases proceeding in forma pauperis " at any time" if the action is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim, even if part of the filing fee is paid. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d)(2). Accordingly, this Court grants leave to proceed in forma pauperis only if the allegations state a federal claim for relief.
In reviewing the Complaint, the Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally construing them in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 649 (7th Cir. 2103). However, conclusory statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be provided to " 'state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'" Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 2013)(citation omitted).
The plaintiffs are detained in the Rushville Treatment and Detention Center pursuant to the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Act. They wish to room together, but their requests have been denied for the stated reason that Plaintiff Loupe is HIV positive, and the rooming committee fears that Plaintiff Loupe will act out sexually with Plaintiff Bohannan. The plaintiffs allege that other residents' requests to room together have been granted even though the rooming committee allegedly knows that the roommates will sexually act out together. The plaintiffs allege that their roommates thus far have been incompatible. Plaintiff Loupe is moved around frequently because no resident wants him as a roommate because Loupe is homosexual and HIV positive.
The Court cannot discern a constitutional claim on these allegations. The plaintiffs do not have a constitutional right to room with whom they wish, and federal courts must defer to the facility regarding those kinds of decisions. See Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 528, 126 S.Ct. 2572, 165 L.Ed.2d 697 (2006)(" [C]ourts owe 'substantial deference to the professional judgment of prison administrators.'")(quoted cite omitted); Youngberg v. Romeo, 457 U.S. 307, 323, 102 S.Ct. 2452, 73 L.Ed.2d 28 (1982)(decisions by professionals working at mental health institution are afforded deference and violate the Constitution only if professional judgment not exercised). Further, the plaintiffs have no equal protection claim because the facility has a rational reason for denying the rooming request: fear of HIV transmission. Chasensky v. Walker, 740 F.3d 1088, 2014 WL 228693 (7th Cir. 2014)(Under the rational basis analysis, an " equal protection challenge cannot succeed 'if there is any reasonably conceivable state of facts that could provide a rational basis for the classification.'")(other cites omitted).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that:
1. The plaintiffs' petitions to proceed in forma pauperis are denied (2, 4) because the plaintiffs fail to state a claim for federal relief. This case is closed. No strike shall be assessed because the plaintiffs are not prisoners under the meaning of 28 U.S.C. 1915(g).
2. The clerk is directed to enter a judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 58.
4. If the plaintiffs wish to appeal this dismissal, they may file a notice of appeal with this court within 30 days of the entry of judgment. Fed. R. App. P. 4(a). A motion for leave to appeal in forma pauperis must set forth the issues the plaintiff plans to present on appeal. See Fed. R. App. P. 24(a)(1)(C).