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Cunninghamm v. Bridwell

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 7, 2017



          MICHAEL J. REAGAN U.S. Chief District Judge.

         Plaintiff Timothy Cunningham brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that allegedly occurred in Pickneyville Correctional Center and Lawrence 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). 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). 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, see Smith v. Peters, 631 F.3d 418, 419 (7th Cir. 2011), some factual allegations 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, 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).

         Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; this action is severable.

         The Complaint

         Between June 8 and June 10, 2014, John Does 1 through 6 packed up Plaintiff's property from cell R2C32 at Pickneyville. (Doc. 1, p. 6). When Plaintiff's property was returned to him, he was missing 48 items. Id. Plaintiff was also missing trial transcripts and the “common law” record. Id. He alleges that he was unable to properly file a habeas corpus petition without these documents. Id.

         Plaintiff's property was packed up again on September 24, 2014 at Pickneyville Correctional Center for a transfer to Lawrence Correctional Center, which occurred on September 25, 2014. Id. Plaintiff's property arrived at Lawrence on October 18, 2014. Id. Several items of Plaintiff's property were broken. Id. Plaintiff received the bulk of his property at Lawrence on October 31, 2014, and the remainder on December 1, 2014. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff holds John Does #7-12 responsible for this chain of events. Id.

         On November 8, 2014, Plaintiff handed Sharp an envelope with two motions to send to the law library. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-8). On November 27, 2014, Plaintiff discovered the envelope in the control center of his building. (Doc. 1, p. 8). It was never given to the law library. Id.

         Plaintiff suffered a heart attack in his cell on October 5, 2014 at Lawrence. He alleges that John Does 13 through 18, i.e., the officers on 6 house working that day, ignored the panic button, and that Plaintiff waited 45 minutes for assistance. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-9).

         Plaintiff was taken to health care after his heart attack, where he alleges that writing materials and hygiene supplies were withheld from him for 26 days. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff does not name the officers who withheld these materials. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that Vaughn withheld communion from him at Lawrence, substantially burdening his practice ...

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