United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE U.S. District Judge.
an inmate at Lawrence Correctional Center, brings this action
for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for events that occurred at Menard
Correctional Center. Plaintiff seeks declarative, injunctive,
monetary relief for violations of his constitutional rights
that arose when Plaintiff was issued an allegedly false
disciplinary ticket and disciplined without due process. 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
28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
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). 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). 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). Additionally,
courts “should not accept as adequate abstract
recitations of the elements of a cause of action or
conclusory legal statements.” Id. However, the
factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be
liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Service, 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
September 22, 2015 Internal Affairs Officer Ward came to
Plaintiff’s cell and asked if he had ever written to
Reverend Z. Lee. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff acknowledged that
he had. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Ward told Plaintiff that Menard had
received an anonymous phone call from Jane Doe that accused
Plaintiff of making intimidating remarks in a letter to Lee.
Plaintiff does not believe that the caller was Lee himself.
(Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff agreed not to write to Lee any
longer, but asked to see the threatening letter. (Doc. 1, p.
4). Ward told him that the letter had not been forwarded to
the institution and that he was acting on the phone call
alone. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Ward also admitted that he had not
personally spoken to the caller. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Ward asked
Plaintiff if he had ever told Lee: “You snaked
me.” (Doc. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff stated that he might
have, but in his opinion, the expression was harmless. (Doc.
1, p. 5). Plaintiff wanted to see the letter at issue so that
he could put the statement in context. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
September 24, 2015, Plaintiff received a disciplinary ticket
written by Ward for intimidation and threats. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
Monte signed off on the ticket. (Doc. 1, p. 2). The
Adjustment Committee relied solely on the phone call in
finding Plaintiff guilty. (Doc. 1, p. 5). The letter was
never entered into evidence and appears never to have been in
the possession of anyone at Menard. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Brookman
was the Committee Chairman. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Butler signed off
on the discipline. (Doc. 1, p. 9). As a result of this
incident, Plaintiff received a verbal reprimand. (Doc. 1, p.
25). Bochantin denied Plaintiff’s grievance regarding
the disciplinary report. (Doc. 1, p. 8).
has divided his Complaint into three Counts, which the Court
adopts and will use in all further pleadings:
COUNT 1: Brookman and Butler violated
Plaintiff’s due process rights when they found him
guilty of a disciplinary infraction on September 30, 2015
without sufficient evidence, and Bochantin violated
Plaintiff’s due process rights when she sustained a
grievance regarding same.
COUNT 2: Ward and Monte violated
Plaintiff’s due process rights by failing to adequately
investigate the anonymous phone call that provided the basis