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Thomass v. Hollenbeck

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

October 6, 2016

FRANK THOMAS, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Frank Thomas, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that allegedly occurred in the Madison County Jail. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages 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). 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). 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). Additionally, 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, the factual allegations of a pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Plaintiff originally filed his Complaint on September 4, 2015 in Case No. 15-cv-988. The Court dismissed that Complaint on October 5, 2015 for failure to state a claim, and directed Plaintiff to file an amended complaint no later than November 2, 2015. (Doc. 6). Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint on October 21, 2015. (Doc. 10). After reviewing the Amended Complaint, the Court determined that it contained multiple unrelated claims, and severed those claims into four new actions: the present case, 16-cv-896, 16-cv-897, and 16-cv-898.

         Also, after reviewing records from the Illinois Department of Corrections, it appears that Plaintiff has been transferred to Robinson Correctional Center as of January 8, 2016. Although previously directed to keep the Court of his whereabouts, Plaintiff has not filed a notice of change of address, either in 15-988 or any of the severed cases. Plaintiff is once again reminded of his obligation to keep the Court informed of his whereabouts, and that a notice of change of address must be filed individually in all of his severed cases. Plaintiff's claims for injunctive relief regarding certain Madison County Jail policies are now MOOT as he is no longer subject to those policies, and will not be addressed further.

         Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is subject to dismissal.

         The Complaint

         Prior to his current placement, Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Madison County Jail. (Doc. 4, p. 1). While at the jail, Plaintiff alleges that Bost denied him access to legal materials and copies, and the lack of access interfered with his ability to prepare his criminal defense along with his appointed attorney. (Doc. 4, p. 1; Doc. 4-2, p.1). Along with access, Bost also denied Plaintiff paper, stamps, envelops, and free copies. (Doc. 4, p. 2, Doc. 4-2, p. 1). Hollenbeck also refused to notarize Plaintiff's legal papers. (Doc. 4-3, p. 4). Hollenbeck also cracked jokes about the charges against Plaintiff on July 31, 2015. (Doc. 4-3, p. 5).


         The Court previously divided Plaintiff's Amended Complaint in 15-988 into 8 counts. Counts 4 and 5 were severed ...

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