United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MERIT REVIEW OPINION
BILLY MCDADE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
proceeding pro se and detained in the Rushville Treatment and
Detention Center, seeks 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 has been paid. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d)(2).
Accordingly, this Court grants leave to proceed in forma
pauperis only if the complaint states a federal claim.
reviewing the complaint, the Court accepts the factual
allegations as true, liberally construing them in
Plaintiff's favor. Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d
645, 649 (7th Cir. 2013). However, conclusory
statements and labels are insufficient. Enough facts must be
provided to "a claim for relief that is plausible on its
face.'" Alexander v. U.S., 721 F.3d 418,
422 (7th Cir. 2013).
is civilly detained in the Rushville Treatment and Detention
Center pursuant to the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons
Commitment Act, 725 ILCS 207/1, et seq. Plaintiff
says he was in required offender treatment with Counselor
Lynnette Ellis. Plaintiff says he was making good progress
and therefore he wrote a letter to the presiding judge in his
civil commitment proceeding informing the judge Plaintiff was
ready to take a polygraph in order to move to Phase II of his
treatment. The judge entered an order approving the
says Defendant Ellis was angry with Plaintiff for writing
directly to the judge and she began to retaliate against
Plaintiff by delaying his ability to advance in counseling,
allowing another inmate to verbally abuse him, writing a
false behavior report and ultimately indicating Plaintiff had
flunked the polygraph test. To prevail on a retaliation
claim, the Plaintiff must show that he engaged in activity
protected by the First Amendment; he suffered a deprivation
that would likely deter First Amendment activity in the
future; and the First Amendment activity motivated the
decision to take retaliatory action. Bridges v.
Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 553 (7th Cir. 2009).
Whether or not Plaintiff's letter addressing treatment at
the facility was a protected First Amendment activity will
need to be addressed by the parties. However, for the
purposes of notice pleading, Plaintiff has adequately alleged
Defendant Ellis violated his First Amendment rights when she
retaliated against the Plaintiff.
complaint, Plaintiff asks for damages as well as several
forms of injunctive relief. For instance, Plaintiff asks the
Court to appoint a “Special Master or Arbiter” to
resolve his complaint in a speedy manner. (Comp, p. 8).
Plaintiff has not provided a basis for this appointment, nor
is it appropriate in his case. Any other requests for
injunctive relief are contingent on Plaintiff successfully
litigating his claims.
Pursuant to a review of the Complaint, the Court finds that
Plaintiff alleges Defendant Ellis retaliated against him
based on a letter sent to the presiding judge in
Plaintiff's civil commitment proceeding. This case
proceeds solely on the claims identified in this paragraph.
Any additional claims shall not be included in the case,
except at the Court's discretion on motion by a party for
good cause shown or pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
case is now in the process of service. Plaintiff is advised
to wait until counsel has appeared for Defendants before
filing any motions, in order to give Defendants notice and an
opportunity to respond to those motions. Motions filed before
Defendants' counsel has filed an appearance will
generally be denied as premature. Plaintiff need not submit
any evidence to the Court at this time, unless otherwise
directed by the Court.
Court will attempt service on Defendants by sending each
Defendant a waiver of service. Defendants have 60 days from
the date the waiver of service is sent to file an Answer. If
Defendants have not filed Answers or appeared through counsel
within 90 days of the entry of this order, Plaintiff may file
a motion requesting the status of service. After counsel has
appeared for Defendants, the Court will enter a scheduling
order setting deadlines for discovery and dispositive
respect to a Defendant who no longer works at the address
provided by Plaintiff, the entity for whom that Defendant
worked while at that address shall provide to the Clerk said
Defendant's current work address, or, if not known, said
Defendant's forwarding address. This information shall be
used only for effectuating service. Documentation of
forwarding addresses shall be retained only by the Clerk and
shall not be maintained in the public docket nor disclosed by
Defendants shall file an answer within 60 days of the day the
waiver of service is sent by the Clerk. A motion to dismiss
is not an answer. The answer should include all defenses
appropriate under the Federal Rules. The answer and
subsequent pleadings shall be to the issues and claims stated
in this Opinion.
counsel has appeared for a Defendant, Plaintiff need not send
copies of his filings to that Defendant or to that
Defendant's counsel. Instead, the Clerk will file
Plaintiff's document electronically and send a notice of
electronic filing to defense counsel. The notice of
electronic filing shall constitute service on Defendants
pursuant to Local Rule 5.3. If electronic service on
Defendants is not available, Plaintiff will be notified and
Counsel for Defendants is hereby granted leave to depose
Plaintiff at Plaintiff's place of confinement. Counsel