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Nieto v. Godinez

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 31, 2016

MICHAEL NIETO, Plaintiff,
v.
S.A. GODINEZ, JASON HART, ROBERT HUGHES, LINDA CARTER, K. BUTLER, BILLIE GREEN, RICHARD RONSOM, JOHN DOE, AND JANE DOE Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          MICHAEL J. REAGAN, United States District Court Chief Judge.

         Plaintiff Michael Nieto, an inmate in Stateville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for actions that occurred at Menard Correctional Center. Plaintiff requests punitive, compensatory, and injunctive relief. 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 any reasonable person would find meritless. 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).

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court is required to conduct a prompt threshold review of the complaint. After fully considering the allegations in Plaintiff's complaint, the Court concludes that the complaint fails to state a constitutional claim upon which relief may be granted, and shall be dismissed without prejudice. However, Plaintiff shall be allowed an opportunity to submit an amended complaint, to present any factual allegations that may exist to support a claim for retaliation and/or due process violations. If the amended complaint still fails to state a claim, or if Plaintiff does not submit an amended complaint, the entire case shall be dismissed with prejudice, and the dismissal shall count as a strike pursuant to § 1915(g). The amended complaint shall be subject to review pursuant to § 1915A.

         The Complaint

         On July 30, 2013, Ronsom was listed as a witness in a disciplinary report that Plaintiff received for fighting. (Doc. 1, p. 5). On February 15, 2014, Ronsom fabricated another disciplinary report against Plaintiff, claiming that he found two homemade weapons in Plaintiff's cell. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Ronsom's report listed no witnesses, included no shakedown slips, and did not specify what happened to the weapons. (Doc. 1, p. 6).

         Plaintiff appeared before the adjustment committee on February 20, 2014 and requested a polygraph test. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Hart and Hughes denied Plaintiff's request for a polygraph test and instead accepted Ronsom's report as written. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff was sentenced to segregation. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Hart and Hughes never reviewed a shakedown slip or viewed the actual weapons at issue. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Harrington, the warden, approved the adjustment committee's findings on February 21, 2014. (Doc. 1, p. 7).

         Plaintiff grieved this issue on March 12, 2014. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Carter denied the grievance on April 14, 2014. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Butler, who was the warden by that time, concurred in the denial on April 21, 2014. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Green and Godinez ultimately denied the grievance at the Administrative Review Board level. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

         Plaintiff also alleges that the unknown unit lieutenant had a duty to shake down the cell prior to Plaintiff's placement there to be sure that no contraband ...


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