United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
COREY L. FOX, Plaintiff,
O'GARA & GOMRIC PC, JOHN J. O'GARA, JR., and JAMES A. GOMRIC, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Michael J. Reagan United States District Court.
an inmate at Pontiac Correctional Center, brings this action
for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff seeks monetary relief from the
defendants, who were Plaintiff's court-appointed counsel
in his underlying criminal case. (Doc. 1, pp. 1-2, 10). 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
28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
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, 590 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). 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, 129 S.Ct. 1937,
1949 (2009). Although the Court is obligated to accept
factual allegations as true, some may be so sketchy or
implausible that they fail to provide sufficient notice of a
plaintiff's 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, the factual allegations of a
pro se complaint are liberally construed.
Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Service, 577 F.3d
816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
Complaint focuses on the actions of Plaintiff's appointed
counsel for his underlying criminal case, in which Plaintiff
entered a plea of guilty in December 2001. (Doc. 1).
Plaintiff alleges that his appointed counsel, O'Gara and
Gomric, committed legal malpractice, violated Plaintiff's
constitutional rights, and violated the Illinois Rules of
Professional Conduct in their representation of Plaintiff.
(Doc. 1, pp. 8-9). They allegedly coerced him to plead
guilty, though they were “in possession of numerous
pieces of exculpatory evidence.” (Doc. 1, p. 8). They
also failed to secure him a mental health evaluation, though
one had been approved by the court, and they were aware of
Plaintiff's severe mental impairment. (Doc. 1, p. 7).
alleges that as a result of the deficiencies in the
defendants' representation of him during his criminal
proceedings in 2001, he unwillingly and involuntarily pled
guilty and thereafter was falsely imprisoned, cruelly and
unusually punished, and suffered deterioration to his mental
health. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff admits in his Complaint
that the defendants are not state employees. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
on the allegations of the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to consider Plaintiff's pro se action
as a single count. The parties and the Court will use this
designation in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The
designation of this count does not constitute an opinion as
to its merit.
COUNT 1 - Defendants committed legal
malpractice, violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights,
and committed violations of the Illinois Code of Professional
Conduct in their inadequate representation of Plaintiff as
his criminal counsel in 2001, and thereafter until 2005,