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Rodriguez v. Ritchey

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 7, 2016

RANDY RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
SHAWN RITCHEY, HENRY P. TEVERBAUGH, BRICE E. SPRINGMAN, and JAMES D. LUTH, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Randy Rodriguez, an inmate in Pinckneyville Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that occurred at Vandalia Correctional Center. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages. 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.3d816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         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 summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         At Vandalia Correctional Center on October 1, 2014, Shawn Ritchey wrote Plaintiff a disciplinary report. (Doc. 1, p. 6). The disciplinary report states that Plaintiff was seen participating in a gang fight between inmates. (Doc. 1, p. 12-13). On October 2, 2104, an adjustment committee, comprised of Henry Teverbaugh and Brice Springman, found Plaintiff guilty of the charges based on the disciplinary report alone. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff alleges that they failed to conduct a proper investigation. (Doc. 1, p. 6). He also alleges that he was not given adequate time to prepare for the hearing, and that he was transferred out immediately after the hearing. (Doc. 1-1, p. 3). The Committee also prohibited Plaintiff from calling witnesses. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Chief Administrative Officer James Luth signed off on the disciplinary report on October 3, 2014. (Doc. 1, p. 6). As a result of the ticket, Plaintiff received one year C grade, one year segregation, loss of one year good time credit, a disciplinary transfer, one year phone restriction, one year commissary restriction, one year visiting restriction, and six months contact visit restriction. (Doc. 1, p. 10)

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into three counts. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court.

Count 1: Defendants denied Plaintiff his due process rights in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment when they refused to allow him to call witnesses at his adjustment committee hearing;
Count 2: Defendants denied Plaintiff his equal protection rights in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment when they found him guilty of fighting during ...

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