United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
STEVE L. COOPER, Plaintiff,
MACON COUNTY COURT, MACON COUNTY PROBATION OFFICE, and JOHN DOE PROBATION OFFICER, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. Chief District Judge
Steve L. Cooper, an inmate in Taylorville Correctional
Center, brings this action for deprivations of his
constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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
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.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir.
originally filed this suit on August 15, 2016, but his
Complaint failed to request any relief. (Doc. 1). On
September 30, 2016, the Court ordered Plaintiff to submit an
amended complaint including a request for relief. (Doc. 9).
In lieu of filing a proper amended complaint, Plaintiff
merely submitted a single page requesting the relief of
habeas corpus and $50, 000.00. (Doc. 10). Although docketed
as the “First Amended Complaint, ” the document
does not contain any of the claims at issue in this
litigation. Although normally the Court would strike the
First Amended Complaint as an improper filing for not
including a statement of Plaintiff's claims, in this
case, for reasons of judicial economy, the Court will permit
Plaintiff to amend his Complaint by interlineation. The Clerk
of Court is DIRECTED to add the Complaint (Doc. 1) to the
First Amended Complaint, and the Court will construe them
together. (Doc. 10).
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
alleges that his Fourteenth Amendment Due Process rights were
violated when he was held as a probation violator. (Doc. 1,
p. 5). Plaintiff was on probation for domestic with a prior
that he was sentenced to in January 2013. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
However, he alleges that he was violated under the terms of
his probation for an aggravated domestic assault that he was
sentenced to in 2012, the terms of which had expired. (Doc.
1, p. 5). Judge Lisa Holder gave him an additional two
years' probation for the violation. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
Complaint must be dismissed without prejudice. First,
although Plaintiff has named the Macon County Court, the
Macon County probation office, and an unknown John Doe
probation officer as Defendants, he had not actually made any
allegations against them. The reason that plaintiffs, even
those proceeding pro se, for whom the Court is
required to liberally construe complaints, see Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972), are required to
associate specific defendants with specific claims is so
these defendants are put on notice of the claims brought
against them and so they can properly answer the complaint.
“Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only
‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ' in order to
‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim
is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
Thus, where a plaintiff has not included a defendant in his
statement of the claim, the defendant cannot be said to be
adequately put on notice of which claims in the complaint, if
any, are directed against him. Furthermore, merely invoking
the name of a potential defendant is not sufficient to state
a claim against that individual. See Collins v.
Kibort, 143 F.3d 331, 334 (7th Cir. 1998) (“A
plaintiff cannot state a claim against a defendant by
including the defendant's name in the caption.”).
Plaintiff has not listed Defendants Macon County Court, Macon
County Probation Office and the unknown probation officer
elsewhere in his Amended Complaint, he has not adequately
stated claims against these individuals/entities, or put them
on notice of any claims that Plaintiff may have ...