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Wells v. Bullard

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 14, 2016

CHRISTOPHER WELLS, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFERY BULLARD, MOUNT VERNON POLICE DEPT., and CITY OF MOUNT VERNON Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Phil Gilbert U.S. District Judge.

         Plaintiff Christopher Wells, an inmate in the Jefferson County Justice Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Amended 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.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

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

         The First Amended Complaint

         Plaintiff originally filed this case on June 17, 2016, however, the only Defendant listed was the City of Mount Vernon, and so the Court dismissed the Complaint on August 10, 2016 for failure to associate specific defendants with specific allegations. (Doc. 1) (Doc. 7). Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint on August 31, 2016. (Doc. 8).

         Plaintiff's statement of claim refers to “C.W., ” which the Court presumes stands for “Christopher Wells, ” the plaintiff here. The Court notes that while Plaintiff complains of things that happened while he was a minor, he is no longer a minor and has not sought leave of the court to proceed as an unnamed party. The Court presumes that all references to “C.W” refer to Plaintiff.

         Plaintiff alleges that on May 31, 2011, Bullard arrested him. (Doc. 1, p. 5). At the time, Plaintiff was 15 years old. (Id.). Bullard did not attempt contact Plaintiff's parents or guardians prior to questioning him. (Id.). Bullard coerced Plaintiff into incriminating himself by falsely telling Plaintiff that if he confessed and showed remorse, his case would be kept in the juvenile court system. (Id.). That statement was later suppressed via motion.[1] (Id.).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations of the First Amended Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se action into 2 counts.[2] The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial ...


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