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Conroy v. United States

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 9, 2016

JOHN ALAN CONROY, #42054-177, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff John Alan Conroy, an inmate in the United States Penitentiary at Marion Correctional Center ("Marion") brings this pro se action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights by persons acting under the color of federal authority. See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). This case is now before the Court for preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Conroy alleges that in June 2016 he was moved from a three person cell to a single cell in the Sex Offender Management Unit. On the unit, fellow inmate Billy Minner has engaged in a course of harassing conduct that has caused Plaintiff to fear for his safety and the security of his personal property. In connection with his claims, the Plaintiff has named the United States, the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), and inmate Minner. He seeks injunctive relief moving Minner away from sex offenders, directing the United States Attorney to investigate Minner and requiring the BOP to review its policies and procedures. He also seeks punitive damages and attorney's fees.

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner Complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any portion of the 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, some factual allegations may be so sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a plaintiffs 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). After carefully considering the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds that Plaintiffs claims are subject to dismissal under § 1915 A.

         The Complaint

         Conroy alleges that in June 2016 he was moved from a three man cell in N-unit to a single cell in G-unit (Doc. 1 at 5). He was located in the Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP) at the facility, because he was convicted of a sex offense (Id.). He alleges that the BOP allowed inmates to have access to records about his offense of conviction by way of the publication of court opinions on library computers (Id.). He also alleges that the information published was false, and that he has a claim of actual innocence (Id.).

         Plaintiff claims that when he arrived at his new cell on G-unit, Defendant Minner began harassing him by telling him he had no vote on the white TV (Id. at 7). When Conroy exhibited interest in the television, Minner would disable it (Id.). Minner also harassed Conroy, saying he should be "cut up like that girl." (Id.). Minner has worked to spread the word and to create a hostile environment for Conroy and other inmates (Id.). Minner possesses no specific authority to create rules or to harass others, but he has not been prevented from doing so (Id.).

         Conroy further alleges that he is not allowed to have visitors at his cell, though he does not indicate why he has this ban (Id. at 7). Each time he leaves his cell, he fears that when he returns his belongings will be gone because his belongings were stolen in the past by fellow inmates (Id. at 7, 11).

         Conroy asserts that the United States and the BOP are responsible for the harassment because they create an environment conducive to harassment by facilitating public access to case records (Id. at 8). He claims that this constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the Eighth Amendment (Id.).

         In support of his Complaint, Conroy appended an affidavit wherein he recounted the same essential facts contained in his Complaint (Id. at 12-13).


         Based on the allegations, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se Complaint into the following enumerated claims. 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. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion regarding their merit.

Count 1: Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim against the BOP and the United States for allowing access to case records that led to harassment by fellow inmates;
Count 2: Eighth Amendment harassment or cruel and unusual punishment claims against inmate Minner for a course of harassing and intimidating conduct, including harassment about the nature of ...

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