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George v. Gordinez

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 3, 2016

VINCENT M. GEORGE, Jr., # R01690, Plaintiff,
v.
SALVADORE GORDINEZ, WARDEN HODGES, M. MAYFIELD, JANIS JOKISCH, and C. DOWNEN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Vincent George, Jr. brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against five Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) officials, who allegedly held him at Lawrence Correctional Center for 39 days beyond his correct release date of December 29, 2011 (Doc. 1). Plaintiff claims that the prolonged incarceration violated his right to due process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment and amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment (id.). He seeks monetary damages to compensate him for his allegedly excessive incarceration (id.).

         Plaintiff originally filed this action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on November 3, 2014. See George v. Gordinez, No. 14-cv-08795 (N.D.Ill. 2014). After reviewing the Complaint on November 6, 2014, the Northern District entered an Order transferring the case to this District for preliminary screening of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and all further proceedings in this matter. However, the case was not actually transferred to this Court until almost fourteen months later on December 29, 2015 (Doc. 10). This Court screened the initial Complaint and concluded that the action was time-barred. Accordingly, the Court entered a Dismissal Order (Doc. 16) and Judgment (Doc. 17) on March 4, 2016.

         Plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal (Doc. 18) and a Motion for Reconsideration (Docs. 18, 27) less than twenty-eight days later. In his Motion for Reconsideration, Plaintiff offered clarifying information regarding allegations in his Complaint, which suggested that the action was not time-barred. This Court entered an Order (Doc. 26) on April 13, 2016, certifying that it would be inclined to vacate the Dismissal Order (Doc. 16) and Judgment (Doc. 17) and reopen the case, if the Seventh Circuit remanded the case for that purpose. In turn, the Seventh Circuit entered an Order Remanding Case (Doc. 28) on April 21, 2016.

         On April 25, 2016, this Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration and vacated the Dismissal Order (Doc. 16) and Judgment (Doc. 17) pursuant to Rule 59(e) and/or 60(b) (see Doc. 29). Plaintiff was given 35 days to file an Amended Complaint, if he wished to do so. Plaintiff responded by filing a timely First Amended Complaint (Doc. 30), which is now before the Court for § 1915A review. In it, Plaintiff again names Defendants Gordinez (IDOC Director), Hodges (Lawrence's warden), Jokisch (records office supervisor), Downen (counselor) and Mayfield (Illinois Prisoner Review Board) for violating his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. He seeks monetary damages against these defendants, as well as injunctive relief (Doc. 30, p. 6).

         First Amended Complaint

         On December 7, 2010, while on mandatory supervised release, Plaintiff was arrested for aggravated fleeing and alluding of an officer (Doc. 30, p. 8). The IDOC issued a warrant for his arrest on December 8, 2010 and took him into custody on December 13, 2010. He was initially incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”). While there, Plaintiff attended a preliminary hearing before the Prisoner Review Board (“PRB”) on December 23, 2010. During the hearing, Plaintiff was informed that his parole was still running (id.).

         On January 10, 2011, Plaintiff was convicted and sentenced to 2 years of incarceration in the IDOC, followed by 1 year of mandatory supervised release (id.). He was allegedly credited with 1 month and 4 days of time served (id.).

         Plaintiff subsequently transferred to Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”), where he met with Defendant Mayfield on February 9, 2011 to discuss his sentence calculation. Defendant Mayfield informed Plaintiff that he had been formally declared a parole violator with an effective violation date of December 8, 2010. Plaintiff was denied credit for the time he spent in custody between December 7, 2010 and January 10, 2011. His incarceration was consequently prolonged by 39[1] days (id. at 9).

         Plaintiff filed grievances to complain about this error. He also submitted requests for meetings, or actually met with, Defendants Downen (counselor), Jokisch (records office supervisor) and Hodges (warden) to discuss the matter. In the end, the parties simply disagreed on Plaintiff's release date. Plaintiff claims that he should have been released on December 29, 2011, but he was held for an additional 39 days (id. at 9).

         Plaintiff now brings an Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claim against Defendants Gordinez (IDOC Director), Hodges (Lawrence's warden), Jokisch (records office supervisor), Downen (counselor) and Mayfield (Illinois Prisoner Review Board). He seeks monetary damages as compensation for his allegedly excessive incarceration as well as an Order requiring the IDOC to “hire someone or assign someone to aide in calculating [sentences]. . . .” (id. at 6).

         Merits Review Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A

         This case is now before the Court for preliminary review of the First Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under § 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner Complaints, including amended Complaints, to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any portion of the First Amended Complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         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). 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. Conversely, 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, 678 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept factual allegations as true, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), 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). Courts “should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements.” Id. At the same time, however, ...


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